ROYALTON -- Supervisor Calvin Rhoney will step down from office next month, having lost to challenger Richard Lang on Election Day, but he hopes one of his greatest accomplishments as supervisor will prove to be a lasting legacy.
The town is creating a master plan with the help of Wendel Duchscherer, an Amherst architecture and engineering firm. The board approved the hire in September and the contract was signed a couple of weeks ago. The $40,000 cost will be paid through a grant procured for the project through State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane.
A master plan previously created in 1972 was never officially adopted.
"This should be a very positive thing for this town and I've been pushing for it since the day I took over," said Rhoney, who has served as supervisor the past 16 months.
A master plan gives the town direction -- not only physical direction, but financial direction, Rhoney said.
"It will assist in planning our budgets," he said. "It will show us what we want the town to look like in five, 10 and 20 years, but it will need to be updated to make sure the town is going in the direction we want.
"The public will have input," he added. "There will be public meetings and it will all be done in a very open forum. The Planning Board, Zoning Board, Town Board, town attorney and engineer, Highway Department, building inspector -- everyone will have input."
Incoming supervisor and current Town Councilman Lang concurred.
"We will want [Wendel Duchscherer] to work hand in hand with our Planning Board on this," he said.
Ellen Parker, a planner with the Amherst firm, estimated the project will take about a year. It will involve a great deal of mapping of wetlands, farmland, flood plains and other sites, and research into existing zoning laws in what is one of the largest towns in the state, at nearly 39,000 acres. The town of roughly 8,000 residents in the southeast corner of Niagara County borders three other counties: Erie, Genesee and Orleans.
The town also contains the Village of Middleport and the hamlet of Gasport.
When the public meetings begin, "We need to find out what people would like to see for the future of this town, what areas they want to keep rural and where they want development to occur, for example," Parker said. "The public is becoming more aware of the importance of these plans because they help guide your land uses."
The town will form a steering committee to guide the plan and Parker said at least two public meetings will be held: the first to identify the issues early in the process, and the second to see if the plan is headed in the right direction.
Once a tentative plan is formed, the Town Board will hold a public hearing and eventually adopt the plan, which will comply with all state regulations, Parker said.