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Group home plan in Eden raises safety concerns on school board

Questions about a proposed group home have raised concerns in the Eden Central School District.

School board members spoke Wednesday night about Community Services’ proposal to establish a group home at Jennings Road and East Church Street in Eden.

Not much is known about the proposal, which worries board member Paul Shephard.

“The lack of information is concerning,” he said.

Some fear the home could harbor convicted felons, including those who have preyed on children.

“The concern in the community is it could hold sex offenders,” said Michael Byrnes, the board’s president.

Byrnes and Shephard found it troubling that they learned about the proposal from a petition that has been circulating.

“A group home is coming in and we had to find out from a petition,” Shephard said.

Similar proposals have failed in the towns of Brant and Evans. Community Services also owns a property at Cole and Omphalius roads in the Town of Boston, Shephard said.

• The board approved Kelly Ray as the permanent nurse in the junior-senior high school. She has completed the probationary period.

• Board members also granted tenure to Kelly Fronczak, a special-education teacher, effective Sept. 17.

• The board plans to conduct its reorganization meeting at 7 p.m. July 1 in the junior-senior high school’s cafeteria.

Boston

Town of Boston officials are considering a cellphone tower that Hamburg Emergency Services Coordinator Sean Crotty proposed.

Boston Town Councilman Jay P. Boardway said the tower would be located on Boston State Road near the State Police substation.

The cell tower would serve a dual purpose, Boardway said, as emergency services personnel sometimes have communication problems in the valley.

“It would alleviate that problem,” Boardway said, noting that the proposed tower would include a repeater, which retransmits signals so that they can go longer distances over obstructed areas such as valleys.

Boardway also said this endeavor could be profitable for the town, but it is not coming soon.

“It is not an immediate thing,” he said. 

Town Attorney Michael L. Kobiolka is looking at the contract proposal. He also noted that a public hearing would have to be held on the proposal.

Although the councilman said he is still giving thought to the idea, he is leaning toward the notion that it would be a “good idea.”

• Boardway asked that the board table accepting the resignation of Beverly Kent as chairman of the town’s zoning board of appeals. He said he was told that clashing of some strong personalities may have led to her decision to resign and that he believes the board should try talking her into rescinding her resignation request.

This also led the board to table a related resolution to appoint a new zoning board chairman, as well as to hold off on appointing Courtney Mead as a regular member until board members talk to Kent.

Blasdell

Blasdell officials are concerned about work the state proposes for South Park Avenue.

“It’s mill and fill off the two lanes,” Mayor Michael Petrie said.

The mayor said the state Department of Transportation should address some safety issues, specifically noting that it is common for drivers to use walking and parking lanes to go around vehicles turning onto side streets.

Petrie said he hoped that a solution can be worked out to fix the problem and that the village can receive funding from the state and federal governments.

Village Administrator Janet L. Plarr told the board the DOT recently started seeking bids for the project. She said bids can be submitted for about a month, which means the project could begin as early as late July.

Petrie added that the DOT did not say how long it would take to complete the work.

The DOT recently completed a project on South Park Avenue south of Milestrip Road to Big Tree Road which turned that section from a four-lane highway to a three-lane highway with a middle lane as a turn lane. The project proposed by the DOT in the village would begin at South Park Avenue on the north side of Milestrip Road.

Chestnut Ridge

Horseback patrols will be added along the Eternal Flame Trail in Chestnut Ridge Park, where hikers have run into trouble in recent weeks.

Erie County’s sheriff and parks commissioner announced details of the plan to use mounted reserve deputy patrols at Orchard Park attraction.

In addition, members of the Hillcrest Volunteer Fire Company will be talking about resources used during a rescue.

At least twice this month, hikers have fallen into the ravine near the eternal flame, a natural gas fissure beneath a waterfall.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com