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Elma puts moratorium on certain sign permits

The Elma Town Board has approved a six-month moratorium on new permits for digital or LED flashing, blinking and scrolling business signs until it has time to review the current code.

Councilman Dean Puleo made the motion based on complaints that the current code is "too ambiguous" and needs clarifying.

Last year, a code design committee drew up regulations and spent a significant amount of time on the signs rules. But clarification is need for certain areas of town -- such as Transit Road, Maple Road and parts of Seneca Street -- that contain businesses. Some officials say the code is too vague and is being interpreted differently than the board intended.

"Due to the advancement of science, some signs can be very disturbing to others in some neighborhoods, such as flashing or blinking signs," Supervisor Michael Nolan said.

"We don't want flashing signs on every corner like Las Vegas," Councilman Dennis Powers said.

The Zoning Board of Appeals has told the town that it has granted several appeals for sign variances because of lack of clarity in the code. Nolan said the issue will be discussed at the next Town Board work session, set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The board authorized the supervisor to sign a contract with Upstate New York Municipal Workers' Compensation Program, a cooperative of small towns and school districts, for a self-insured plan with a cap of $200,000, which will trigger an umbrella coverage if the town spends more than that.

Elma expects to save thousands of dollars by joining the group, which requires one payment a year and gives money back depending upon how many compensation incidents a town may have. Upstate reportedly approached Elma about joining because of its excellent safety record.

Nolan announced that the town, according to a recent audit, has underspent the general fund budget by several thousand dollars.

The board appointed Fred Streif to a second two-year term on the Erie County Environmental Management Council and commended him on his commitment.

Water Superintendent Eugene Stevenson reported that electric surges have caused problems and that surge suppressors are needed for the entire building that contains the Jamison Road pump.

The board authorized the supervisor to invite New York State Electric & Gas to the next work session to discuss why certain areas of the town have had an unusual number of power outages that cannot be blamed on the weather.

The board approved business use permits for Sundry Solutions LLC and MarCare Physician Business Management at 1191 Bowen Road and Purr-Fect Tea & Gift Emporium, which will sell specialty teas and packaged goods at 430 Main St.

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