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Flood-control gates designed to keep a Northtowns drainage ditch from overflowing also should stem legal action between the Town of Tonawanda and Amherst, town officials said this weekend.

Tonawanda Supervisor Carl D. Calabrese and Amherst Supervisor Susan J. Grelick said the towns have resolved a dispute over drainage from the Boulevard Consumer Square, being built on the Amherst side of Niagara Falls Boulevard, into the Evergreen ditch on the Tonawanda side.

Tonawanda had sued Amherst for approving the development just south of the Youngmann Highway and its drainage plan without considering Tonawanda's concerns about overloading the ditch, which runs through heavily populated areas of Tonawanda to Ellicott Creek.

"According to the engineers and consultants involved, this development now has the necessary design features to deal with the storm water runoff coming from the Boulevard Consumer Square project," Calabrese said.

"While no one can predict what nature will bring, this redesigned drainage system gives us confidence that the storm water attributable to the Boulevard Consumer Square project will be properly drained and will not increase the possibility that the Evergreen ditch area will flood because of this project," he said.

Plans for the shopping plaza call for retention ponds to handle rainwater runoff from the 550,000-square-foot site.

When the ponds are full, water will flow over the top of a 90-foot-wide concrete spillway and through two 30-inch drainage pipes into Evergreen ditch.

Tonawanda's lawsuit charged that Amherst had "severely underestimated" how much storm water would flow from the plaza and had ignored its own adopted policies that call for input from the neighboring town before such plans are approved.

Benderson Development, owners of the site, gave Tonawanda $45,000 to conduct its own drainage study, but that study had not been completed when Amherst approved the project.

The agreement reached by the two towns calls for a concrete head wall and slide gates on the 30-inch outlet pipes. The slide gates can be partially closed -- a decision to be made by officials in both towns -- if areas along Evergreen ditch flood and the ponds can still take more water.

Amherst also will provide its neighbor with ditch-clearing equipment to ease problems that Tonawanda's study found in the ditch system.

"I had every confidence that Amherst and Tonawanda could find an equitable solution by sitting down together and addressing an issue that has been a source of difficulty to both towns since 1996," Ms. Grelick said.

Calabrese said the settlement deals with the major concerns in the Tonawanda drainage study. He added that the developer has agreed to pay the extra costs of the design changes.

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