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The state has approved adding 14 homes to this year's construction of the Highland Acres Sewer District in Hamburg.

"They look at it as a beneficial thing, too, in that it will eliminate the 14 additional septic systems that currently contribute improperly treated waste water to Rush Creek which flows down to Woodlawn Beach," said Town Engineer Gerard M. Kapsiak.

Bids for the sewer project came in under the estimated $2.3 million cost. The 14 homes along Big Tree Road between Rush Creek and the Thruway were included in the formation of the district but construction of their sewers was to be in a later phase of the project.

Most of the funding, 85 percent, is coming from the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act. The town asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation if the $750,000 in surplus funds that had been awarded under the bond act but not allocated could be used for the Big Tree homes. "There were many residents who showed up at the public hearing and had concern that they would be paying toward the sewer district but would not receive the benefit of having sewers along Big Tree Road," Hamburg Supervisor Patrick H. Hoak said.

The Town Board Monday night authorized up to $35,000 to be paid to Malcolm Pirnie Inc., the engineers of the project, for the additional work of designing and planning the sewer extension along Big Tree Road.

"We will get on to the design of this right away," Kapsiak said.

He said construction on the first phase of the sewer district was held up by heavy snowfall earlier this month, but could start in the next few weeks. Construction is expected to take four to six months.

With the addition of the 14 homes, all developed property in the sewer district will be getting sewers, Kapsiak said.

Also Monday night, the board conducted a public hearing on a proposal to rezone property along South Park Avenue from office district to neighborhood commercial.

The request came from a resident concerned about protecting the residential feel to the area.

"Neighborhood-commercial allows the area to still be developed somewhat commercial but on a much smaller scale," said Planning Board Chairman Richard Crandall.

As is its custom with rezonings, the Town Board put off a decision for two weeks.

The board also conducted a hearing on a U.S. Justice Department grant for the Police Department. The $58,872 will be used for overtime for police officers in details such as patrolling the parks in the summer.

Highway Superintendent James F. Connolly said he does not yet know all the costs connected with the heavy snowfall this winter, but they are "extremely high" and will "definitely exceed the budget."

"We're glad to see the snow melt. We think we have the record for knocking down mailboxes. We're out there now fixing them," he said.

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