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Walmart building plans awaited

The clock is ticking for Walmart to submit building plans for a proposed store at 2400 Seneca St. in West Seneca before the town's approval expires next month.

Walmart last year announced a plan to build a supercenter on the site of a former Ames plaza on the border of Buffalo and secured site-plan approval from the town for construction.

But the company has yet to present building plans to the town, leaving officials with the impression the project has stalled.

"I can only assume that's the case," Town Code Enforcement Officer John A. Gullo said Monday.

Walmart's plans for the Seneca Street site called for demolishing the vacant plaza and constructing a 115,000-square-foot supercenter that would have a design similar to its Lancaster store.

Gullo told residents at a Town Board meeting he has notified the owner of the property -- a Washington-based limited liability company known as Crossroads West Seneca -- that it must either repair safety problems in the vacant building or demolish it if the Walmart plan does not move forward.

Gullo said after the meeting that site-plan approval for the Walmart project granted by the Planning Board in September 2010 is set to expire next month unless Walmart seeks an extension from the town.

The retail giant has not sought an extension, and the property owner has not responded to Gullo's letter, he said.

A representative from the Arkansas-based retail chain told Supervisor Wallace C. Piotrowski this month that the company is reviewing all of its proposed projects, he said.

"We're just one of many, and they're reviewing all of them," Piotrowski said. "I have not gotten a call saying, 'No, they're not building.' "

In other business Monday, the Town Board voted 2-0, with Councilman Dale F. Clarke abstaining, to re-establish the job of deputy town comptroller at a salary of $65,000 and to provisionally appoint town employee Linda Kauderer to the position. The board also called for a civil service test for the job.

Kauderer had been performing the duties of acting deputy comptroller and receiving "out-of-title pay" for the work since the former deputy comptroller retired in 2006, despite having never been appointed by the Town Board to the job.

The board met behind closed doors for more than an hour to discuss the issue Monday night before emerging to take the vote.

Earlier this month, the Town Board unanimously voted to stop "out-of-title pay" for the job, prompting an emergency meeting to discuss how the work would be completed.

Several residents criticized board members during the meeting Monday for what they called a "political move" to make an issue out of Kauderer's pay.

Councilwoman Sheila M. Meegan said town officials were told by the town's labor attorney that they needed to properly establish the salary for the job and call for a civil service test.

Clarke did not explain why he abstained from the vote. He was not immediately available to comment after the meeting.

email: djgee@buffnews.com