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Smooth start for new Lancaster supervisor, but she’s ready for tough votes

Lancaster’s first Town Board meeting of the new year went off without any fireworks, as the town’s first female supervisor took over and presided with a blend of professionalism and a sense of humor.

Democratic Supervisor Johanna M. Coleman and the Democratic-controlled board didn’t have heavy business to tend to, but the town’s newest leader didn’t back away from sharing her take on development when a resident questioned her, particularly about the congested William Street corridor.

“William Street is congested. It is crowded,” Coleman said in response to resident Mike Fronczak’s questions. “It’s not the sleepy little farm road that it used to be. So this town has to closely look at development.”

While Coleman didn’t highlight any specific projects of concern, she noted that she often travels William Street and is familiar with the traffic bottleneck that it has become.

“It will all be looked at on an individual basis,” she said.

Councilman John Abraham, liaison to the Planning Board, reiterated previous concerns about needing to alter the town code to provide a specific classification for patio homes, which have become popular.

“We are looking for ways to tweak the code to fit the needs of the town today,” Abraham said.

Coleman said she expects to hear from developers when spring comes.

“We understand what the pain is,” she said. “I don’t dislike developers, but there’s a place for everything,” she said.

Some projects, though well-conceived, may work better in other communities, she said.

“Developers have a constitutional right to petition us,” she said. “They will ask. Sometimes the answer is ‘yes.’ Sometimes, it’s ‘no.’ ”

Two new council members, Matt Walter and Dawn Gaczewski, aren’t the only new faces in Town Hall. The board appointed Kevin Loftus as its new town attorney and deputy town prosecutor with a $45,000 salary; and School Board member Kenneth Graber, a recently retired administrative law judge, is its new part-time town prosecutor with a $12,500 salary. Jeanne Feldmann was appointed to the vacant part-time permanent clerk position paying $15.22 per hour in the Town Clerk’s Office, now run by new Town Clerk Diane M. Terranova. Planning Board Chairman Neil Connelly remains in his post, despite speculation about a change.