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A new $5 million office and garage building in the Town of Charlotte proposed by the Chautauqua County Department of Public Works has failed to get a recommendation from the county Planning Board for next year.

In its 1998 capital plan, the board said it could not recommend the project because of questions about the site-selection process, the type and size of facility and a proposal by the Public Works Department to turn highway maintenance over to towns.

"We need to make sure the people of this county get the best bang for their buck," said Planning Board Chairman Willard Gaeddert, "and there are some concerns (over the project)."

But while the entire project was not recommended, the board did recommend $2 million be set aside in the 1998 budget to replace or upgrade the current Falconer facility.

"The current facility is simply not acceptable," Gaeddert said. "My main concern is power lines directly over the gasoline pumps."

The board suggested an interim fuel plan be drafted, with "consideration to sharing nearby town or state fuel systems or even contracting with retail operations," and added that the code violations at the current shop mandate "decisions in the near future" on a long-range project.

Gaeddert added, "We are not fighting the DPW, but we need some objective information on sites."

Some county legislators have also expressed concerns about the DPW proposal. A legislative subcommittee is studying the plans and could have some recommendations next month.

The Planning Board's recommendations go to a Capital Project Committee made up of several key members of the administration and the Legislature before a final recommendation is made to the county executive.

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