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RESIDENT TELLS OF CONCERN ABOUT SPRAWL

The possibility of a subdivision springing up on a 25-acre site at Bullis and Town Line roads in Marilla has at least one neighbor concerned about sprawl.

During a meeting of the Town Board last week, Ed Regle of Greenwood Terrace asked board members how they could stop developer Walter Schmidt from building on eight lots of what had been farmland.

Supervisor John R. Foss said Schmidt has yet to apply for building permits. He said that Schmidt has the right to build a house on a 200-by-300-foot lot. However, if Schmidt wants to build additional homes, he will have to wait five years after building his first house before he can build two more, Foss said.

But if Schmidt wants to develop a subdivision, that would require rezoning, Foss said. The supervisor noted that the town has not approved rezoning for a subdivision in the last 10 years.

Regle said the town needs to adopt laws to head off sprawl. He contended that town officials are not looking far enough into the future.

Foss pointed out that Marilla has the most restrictive building code in Erie County. He defended orderly growth.

"We need some new builds to avoid a strong increase in taxes," Foss said. "In 2004, we had 12 new homes built; in 2003, we had 16; and in 2002, 20.

"This is not too much growth. We can't stop it entirely. There are people that own huge tracts of land that want it for their children to build homes on so they don't move away. The board has to represent all residents. Landowners have rights, too."

Regle said he worried that in 10 years, there would be 120 new homes -- if only 12 are built per year.

Schmidt did not attend the meeting.

In other business:

The town received a $55,000 check from the county March 23 as partial payment for the town plowing 25 miles of county roads last winter. The payment was due in December.

Foss said the town held its annual borrowing April 7 and was able to borrow $1.8 million at a rate of 2.84 percent. At the same time, the county borrowed $80 million and got a rate of 3 percent.

Foss said he learned that sales tax revenue will be sent quarterly to the towns instead of monthly.

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