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Village studies sale of land to neighbors

The Village of East Aurora is looking to sell more of its land near the Castle Hill water tower to buyers who would preserve it as green space, after a business asked to buy some of the land to develop dirt bike paths that ultimately would back up to the yards of nearby homes.

After Mayor David DiPietro brought up the issue Monday, a majority of the Village Board authorized a survey and appraisal of five to seven acres of village land in hopes of eventually selling it to adjoining property owners in the Elmwood Avenue-Glenridge Road area.

The area off East Main Street is part of the upscale Victoria Heights subdivision, along with homes in the Castle Hill-Elmwood-Glenridge neighborhood.

"I said, 'No way,' " DiPietro said in an interview about the dirt bike park idea. "This is our way of trying to preserve the land."

"There have been some issues in the past -- about a park -- with the neighbors," DiPietro said. "Victoria Heights residents do not want any development of a park that would be right up against their backyards."

DiPietro declined to disclose who approached him about the dirt bike park but said the business was not local.

The board set a limit of $2,500 for surveying the land it might sell to adjacent property owners and stressed it would prohibit any development.

Trustee Libby Weberg cast the lone opposing vote, saying she never had inspected the property and would like to see it before voting for a survey.

Even if it sold about seven acres of the land, the village would retain another five to seven acres -- enough to still maintain the water tower, Village Administrator Kimberly LaMarche said.

"It's a great way to dispose of the land and keep it green," Trustee Ernest Scheer said.

Village officials said they most likely would offer the land initially to adjoining neighbors on Elmwood Avenue, which lies in the village, before offering it to homeowners along Glenridge, which is in the Town of Aurora.

In other business, the board set a public hearing for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20 on Trustee Patrick McDonnell's proposal to establish a Village Court. The board largely supported the plan at its work session last week, noting that the village has lost significant parking ticket and court revenues since abolishing its court 11 years ago -- leaving it all to Aurora Town Court.


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