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Wheatfield board decides on more environmental study for proposed subdivision

WHEATFIELD – The Town Board decided this week that the proposed Cobblestone Creek subdivision needs more environmental study and called a meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the issues with residents.

The board voted at its meeting Monday in favor of a “positive declaration” under the state’s environmental quality review laws, but that’s not necessarily positive for the developer, Rosal Homes.

It opens the way for the town to demand that Rosal pay for potential new studies of the drainage, traffic and other effects of the plan.

Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said that although the engineering issues have been examined by Rosal’s firm and by Wendel, the town’s firm, “we might want to have a third independent engineer look at how they’re handling the drainage.”

Town Attorney Robert J. O’Toole said, “We actually have the opportunity to hire consultants, and they (Rosal) have to pay.”

Cobblestone Creek is a proposed 43-home development with four full-size homes and 39 patio homes to be built on 5 acres, some of which is a wetland, off Lemke Drive and Errick Road.

Nearby residents say the plan would send runoff onto their properties. “They’ve got problems, and they think this will make them worse,” Cliffe said.

O’Toole said the developer intended to raise the level of the site by about 6 feet, thus putting an earthen wall behind some of the existing homes in the neighborhood.

“They were going to raise the elevation and build on an elevated area. They were going to dig a retention pond and use the fill from the pond to raise the elevation,” O’Toole said.

The plan was to raise the home lots high enough to make a gravity sewer work.

At Wednesday’s meeting in Town Hall, called a scoping session, the public and the builder can discuss what needs to be studied. O’Toole said state law envisions a process of working toward mitigation of the environmental effects.

In other action, the board:

• Renewed its garbage and recycling contract with Modern Disposal for two more years, with a price increase equal to the consumer price index, whatever that turns out to be for the year.

The town pays a fee based on the number of customers, not tonnage. This year’s prices were $699,678 for garbage and $142,754 for recycling. Cliffe said Modern repays the town half the value of the recyclables it resells. There is a $30,000 limit on that repayment, which Cliffe said the town has never approached.

• Made some changes in health insurance for nonunion and full-time elected officials. An Independent Health iDirect Silver plan will be the base policy, for which the town will pay 100 percent of the premium for eligible employees.

But employees who want more coverage will be given three other Independent Health options from which to choose, but they must pay the extra costs themselves.

O’Toole said that anyone hired since December 2003 has to pay 10 percent of the premiums regardless of the plan.

The board also agreed to supply a Medicare supplemental policy for retirees and to pay the deductible for any employee or retiree who selects a high-deductible plan.