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Orchard Park expands its village boundaries

The Village of Orchard Park expanded its territory by one home on Wednesday.

Its boundaries now encompass the house of ex-trustee Stephen N. Bray and his family at 37 Stoneybrook Drive.

During a rare joint meeting of the Orchard Park Town and Village boards, both municipalities approved Bray's petition for the village to annex his property from the town.

"I'm thankful," Bray said after the decision.

Moving the village line makes Bray eligible to serve as a village trustee -- the post he resigned in January, six months after moving to a new home just outside the village line.

He added that he will ask Village Mayor John Wilson to appoint him to the trustee seat that he resigned Jan. 13.

Wilson said he expects to appoint Bray to his old seat on a temporary basis, possibly at a meeting March 9.

"He's been elected by the village, and the village knows him," Wilson said.

The temporary appointment would allow Bray to serve one year. He could run next March for the remaining year in his unexpired term. The trustee position pays $4,000 a year.

Bray moved to Stoneybrook Drive in July, thinking it was about to be absorbed by the village, he said. At the time, a border realignment was being discussed with the town to streamline services that would have affected Stoneybrook and other areas.

Bray's house, formerly his parents' home, is at the end of a dead-end street that already receives village garbage pickup and street clearing.

"It would probably be in the best interest to have our house absorbed in the village, rather than have town trucks drive down a street for one house," Bray told the joint board meeting.

Wilson said that Bray procrastinated in straightening out his residency problem, but that he has a long record of service to the community. A lawyer whose father served as town justice, Bray has been a village trustee since 1999.

Trustee Francis T. Hogenkamp said that the village is still considering ways to swap other properties with the town in locations where it would simplify the provision of services.

But property owners are often unwilling to become part of the village, where taxes average $37 a year more for a $160,000 house, he said.

e-mail: fwilliams@buffnews.com

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