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Village Board rejects takeover of private street

The Village Board has rejected a proposal to take over a private street between Mohawk Street and Oxbow Lane that developers said would have helped spur development in a luxury home subdivision.

A unanimous vote was needed for the transfer Monday night, and it didn't materialize.

Mayor Richard F. Soluri said the developer had hoped to reduce the cost for maintenance for the homeowners association by changing two private streets in the Gardens of Oxbow subdivision into village streets.

Board members did accept making Garden Lane a village street by a 4-1 vote, but according to law needed a unanimous vote to include another street in the subdivision, Primrose Lane, because the 25-foot-wide Primrose is under 30 feet wide.

Garden Lane, also a narrow street at 42 feet wide, needed only a majority vote approval.

Board member Terry Collesano voted against both proposals to take over the streets.

Collesano said the savings of about $40 per year for the proposed 23 homes was just the "cost of doing business" and that the developers would have to absorb those costs.

If the village takes over these streets, "then the village taxpayer will be forced to pay . . .," Collesano told the developers, George Grasser and William and Paul Game.

Soluri disagreed. He said the trade-off for selling more houses would be additional taxes for the village.

William Game said the luxury homes were selling for $275,000 and bringing in $1,100 per year in village taxes.

Game's brother, Paul, said the private roads were hurting sales. They have built three of the 23 homes proposed for the site.

"There is easily 300 people who come through here each weekend who want to move to Lewiston," Paul Game said, "but when they find out there is a village tax and the village doesn't plow their streets, the thought turns them off.

"We thought a village association would be an asset, but it's not."

Village attorney Paul Grenga said, "The stigma of an association maintaining a road is risky for the buyer."

"That kind of fee is accepted in Florida," Grasser said, "but not in the Buffalo area."

Primrose Lane, which the Games called a "continuous alley," affects eight homeowners who use the alley to enter their garages from the back of their homes. All the homes are in a circle around a small lake.

In another matter, the Village Board approved a small subdivision on Mohawk Street, with some conditions. The subdivision, proposed by Sylvester "Sonny" Barone, would include a new street and six single-family homes. His proposal for patio homes had previously been rejected by the Planning Board.

The Planning Board remains responsible for the final decision on the lot and the new road. Village Board members said the subdivision should include a guard rail at the end of the street, coverings for all ditches, green space between neighbors on West Lane, adequate lighting, and inspectors on site during installations of sewer and water lines.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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