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New solutions sought to Donner Creek problem

A formal rejection of the town's request to dredge flood-prone Donner Creek has arrived from the Department of Environmental Conservation, but town leaders are still trying to come up with ways to solve the problem.

Supervisor Marc R. Smith said at a Town Board work session Wednesday that he is still hopeful the DEC will allow "aggressive cleaning of a test area" along the vegetation-clogged creek. He would like that to be near Locust Street and Hamm Road.

Backyards of many residents along the stream fill up with water during rainstorms and heavy snow melts. The DEC said the town is allowed to cut brush in the creek as long as it doesn't disturb the soil. "You show me how that's feasible, and I'll do it," Smith said.

Smith said the DEC usually interprets that edict as allowing cutting with hand tools, not heavy equipment.

Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman said, "It's easy to say, 'We're working with you, but we're not going to let you do anything. . . . You can't put a machine in there. You're disturbing the soil."

Smith said the DEC won't allow cutting of brush too close to the water level. Councilman Mark C. Crocker suggested waiting for a dry spell next summer and then cutting lower than would otherwise be allowed.

Councilwoman Cheryl A. Antkowiak said, "Even if you could clear some of that [brush], it would give the residents some satisfaction. We're not getting any flow at all."

The DEC suggested more detention ponds, a drainage study and enlarging culverts under roads in the area. Seaman said all that would be "extremely expensive to the town."

Meanwhile, the board approved a $450,000 road repaving plan for 2007. Smith said the entire plan is to be paid for through state Consolidated Highway Improvement Program aid.

The plans by Highway Superintendent Lewis J. Hagen Jr. call for reconstructing the entrance to Gothic Ledge, an upscale subdivision on Gothic Hill Road; resurfacing Collins Drive; and repaving Cold Springs Road from the railroad bridge to Route 31.

Also, Bartz Road is to be widened and have its shoulders stabilized from Rapids Road to the second curve east of South Transit Road. And East High Street is to be resurfaced and receive improved drainage facilities from Day Road to the border with the City of Lockport.

In another drainage matter, Councilman Paul H. Pettit said 4-inch drainpipes could be installed along some trails in Slayton Settlement Road Park, where there have been some washouts.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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