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Subdivision, cemetery grant approved

Lancaster made provisions Monday for its living and its dead.

The Town Board unanimously approved a developer's plans for a 21-unit housing development and agreed to give $10,000 to a Lancaster cemetery with shaky finances.

The single-family housing development, named Prairie Landing, would be located on Pavement Road near Broadway, across the street from a recently built senior citizen housing complex. Clover Construction Management proposed last May to build on the vacant site.

Councilwoman Donna Stempniak, who sponsored the resolution, said the proposed subdivision will meet demand. She said demand for houses always has surprised her. Stempniak grew up on Steinfeldt Road, near a noisy railroad.

"I thought, 'Who would want to live there, near the railroad tracks?' But those houses went fast," she said. "You [build] any house under $200,000, and people will [buy it]."

Mike Fronczak, a resident, questioned why the subdivision was being built with a cul-de-sac when the Highway Department has said cul-de-sacs are hard to snowplow in the winter.

"We're bending to the developer," Fronczak said. "Other towns would just say no."

"It's a very long, narrow piece of land, so there's no other way to do it," Town Engineer Robert Harris replied.

The board then approved a $10,000 gift, in two $5,000 installments, to the Lancaster Rural Cemetery Association for its Pavement Road cemetery.

Two dozen Lancaster High students packed the back of the meeting room, charged with the task of writing a paper for their Participation in Government class. After Giza joked that few students had ever spoken at a meeting, three students questioned the board on topics they and other members of the public brought up.

Kayla Irvin asked whether the renovation of an alternate police station on Walden Avenue -- the subject of a lawsuit by five Lancaster residents -- was warranted.

"Why would you build a new station when you could renovate the old building?" Irvin asked. "I know it would cost more, but our house needs renovating, and we can't just buy a new house. We have to use what we've been dealt."

After Giza explained the history of the proposed renovations, another resident complained that his neighbor's automotive shop was making excessive noise.

"Let me tell you students," Giza said, "the biggest thing we hear of is neighborhood disputes, and everyone wants us to be the referees. I know the stories, and it's not all the board's fault."


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