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Amherst to air sidewalk plowing

The Amherst Town Board will convene a special meeting to continue discussing plans for two sidewalk snowplowing districts in the town, one along a section of Niagara Falls Boulevard and another along a section of Maple Road.

The meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. April 29 in the Council Chambers of Town Hall, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

After the introduction of the two proposed sidewalk snowplowing relief districts at Monday's regular Town Board meeting, Council Member Guy R. Marlette indicated that more districts could be created in the future, if a majority of residents along the routes expressed support for them.

"In the future, if this program goes forward, we would want other residents that live in a high-volume, major arterial [area] to have at least 60 percent support [in order] to be considered to be included into a special district," he said.

Town officials last week decided to scale back plans to establish five plowing zones, which would have covered stretches of Kenmore Avenue. Niagara Falls Boulevard, Sheridan Drive, and Harlem, Eggert and Maple roads. The board had previously agreed to enact the measure, including plans to take contractor bids this summer for an entity that would be responsible for servicing "sidewalk snow relief districts."

Those areas were to have included streets along major arterials in the town where snowplows from Erie County and the state Department of Transportation dump mounds of snow onto sidewalks, making them practically impassable for pedestrians.

However, those plans were scaled back after strong opposition from some residents, whose opinions were sought through several public and informational hearings, as well as an extensive phone survey.

Daniel Howard of the town's Planning Department on Monday unveiled plans for the two sidewalk snowplowing relief districts referred to as "Relief Zone No. 1" and "Relief Zone No. 2." The first would encompass Niagara Falls Boulevard from Kenmore Avenue to Bettina Avenue. The second zone would encompass a portion of Maple Road from Millersport Highway to Transit Road.

"The two zones to go into the district [had] in excess of 55 percent supporting being into a snow relief district. The other ones didn't even achieve 50 percent support, which is why they were dropped," said Marlette, who has served as chairman of the town's Sidewalk Snow Relief District Committee.

Jane Cox of North Harlem Road said she was disappointed that sidewalks along some of the busiest roads in the town would not be included in the sidewalk snowplowing relief district plan.

"It's unfortunate. I know people who would really benefit from having the snowplowing service. I'm sure they're counting on it, and I think they're going to be surprised to find they're not getting it," said Cox.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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