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Collins censured by two other Hamburg Town Board for two violations

BY: Christopher Gordon | December 12, 2012

Hamburg Town Councilman Joseph Collins was cited in a pair of violations brought against him during the town board meeting Monday (Dec. 10).

Under the first violation read by Councilwoman Amy Ziegler, it read “On or after October 13, 2012, Brian Doyle, Human Resources consultant was tasked with conducting an investigation involving the inappropriate dissemination of confidential information discussed at Town Board executive sessions which occurred on or after October 13, 2012.”

According to the resolution, Doyle concluded in his report that Collins violated the confidential nature of executive sessions by “disclosing to a Town of Hamburg employee the nature and substance of discussions” which it stated caused undue stress, anxiety and fear of job loss.

Collins was told in the public censure that he must cease and desist from any further such conduct and must attend appropriate training provided by the Association of Towns or a like association.

In the second resolution read by Ziegler, it stated that Doyle filed a claim of harassment against Collins on June 8, 2012 which claimed that Collins violated the “Town of Hamburg Non Harassment Policy.”

As a result of the second public censure, Collins was advised under the Town of Hamburg Employee Assistance Program and/or the Town of Hamburg Human Resources Department, that Collins must comply with the provisions of the policy.

The resolution also said that because this is Collins’ second violation, he be removed as department contact for departments assigned to him until he has successfully completed “appropriate training” directed by the Town’s Employee Assistance Program or the human resources department.

Both resolutions passed by a 2-1 count, with Ziegler and Town Supervisor voting in favor, while Collins voted against the resolutions.

Collins said despite the censure, he will continue to fight for residents of the Town of Hamburg whom he was voted to represent.

“I’m more resolved to stand by my oath,” Collins said, adding he is frustrated that he is “continually being attacked by fellow board members I’m trying to work with is disheartening.”

In other news, the board heard a presentation by Town Planning Consultant Andrew Reilly in regards to proposed revisions to the zoning codes.

.In the first proposed change, Reilly said the board is looking to update the “floating zones” in the town codes.

Under Planned Unit Development, the revision should read “Permitted uses shall be mixed to provide for a variety of use types and services that are coordinated within a designated area, subject to approved concept and development plans for the entire area.”

According to the proposal, the minimum size of tesidential lots in the PUD district would be specified in the cluster development law. The minimum lot sizes for non-residential or multi-family residential use would be determined on the recommendation by the planning board.

It would also say that the minimum designated area for a PUD would not be less than 10 acres.

Under the proposed changes, the same designation of not less than 10 acres would also apply for the Planned Residential District.

Also under the PRD, it would read “Gross density of the development shall be determined based on compliance with all other lot size, setback and greenspace requirement.”

Reilly said when the code review committee started looking at changes, Walters received a telephone call about eight months ago from a nearby municipality asking how they determine if sidewalks are added to a plan. As a result, Reilly noted it was determined that they follow a procedure, but that there was no specific law in place and the supervisor suggested that the code review include “the practice of the town” and amend it to be a law.

The proposed revision states “The Planning Board in making their decision concerning the site plan, shall determine if a sidewalk is warranted to be placed along the site’s frontage along a Town, County, or State highway. The Planning Board, shall state in their approval resolution the reasoning as to whether the sidewalk is required for the site’s frontage.” “You don’t have to do it unless the planning board requires it,” Reilly said.

Kurt Allen, supervising code enforcement officer for the town, is seeking to update the verbage on the Camp Road Overlay District to read “Signage shall be unobtrusive and be compatible with village standards. Free standing signs shall not be installed on pylons or greater than eight feet in height. Signs attached on building shall meet all Town standards, with consideration given to Village standards.” According to Allen, this is to take away any confusion along that corridor for any business that thinks it must go before the village in regards to signs.

Allen also noted that another change he proposed, involves reinstating an old policy in the Building Construction and Fire Prevention Section which says “When it has been determined by the Code Enforcement Official (that) no physical construction work has been initiated or the project has been abandoned for a period of time in excess of ninety (90) calendar days” that a permit would expire due to inactivity.

“It used to be in our original building code,” Allen said. “ It got deleted by mistake.” He said the law was in place because inactivity over a long period of time can lead to unsafe conditions sometimes.

Another proposed change in the Building Construction and Fire Prevention section is changing the term “public garages” to “Towing and recovery impoundment area.”

Reilly said there are no public garages and this is in reference to off street parking or a facility that provides secure parking for vehicles stored in connection with roadside services that are carried out by a towing company.

Reilly credited Town of Hamburg Assistant Attorney Brian Attea for finding a state law passed a couple months ago for a proposed update in regards to the smoking policy, which the town changed in March.

For health and welfare reasons, the board adopted a policy that said smoking is prohibited not only inside of town owned buildings, but anyone who smokes outside must do so at least 25-feet away from the building.

By adding this into the code, Attea said police would be able to issue a citation to anyone who violates this.

A new section called “Craft breweries and Craft brewery activities” was proposed and would be included under the Agricultural District section of the town codes. Among the items included under Craft Brewery include beer tasting, retail sale of beer, retail sales of related products such as souvenirs, drying spent grain and recovering carbon dioxide and yeast.

The minimum acreage required to have a craft brewery is 15 acres, with 7 acres of the site dedicated to the farming of related crops used in the production of the product.

Something Reilly said was pointed out to him that he needs to amend is that a New York State liquor license is required to house a Craft brewery.

Resident Don Weiss was the only one who spoke in regards to the proposed changes. He is upset about not only some of the proposed changes, but felt it was difficult to find the information.

Holding a copy of a legal notice that appeared in The Sun, Weiss said “this is the notice that went out,” adding that he has three college degrees and had difficulty finding the proposed changes online. He said he does not like that the proposed change under the PUD section that would require 10 acres of land to be considered.

Weiss noted that the only five PUD’s in the Town of Hamburg are golf courses. “They don’t want development of these golf courses,” Weiss said. He said his property is adjacent to the Brierwood Country Club and was originally zoned a PUD when he first owned the property. It was then changed from PUD to R-1 (residential).

Weiss voiced his opposition to the proposed change in minimum lot size.“They go for maximum density. Maximum profitability,” Weiss said. “It gives the power to the planning board.” Prior to opening the hearing for public comment, Walters told audience members that those who spoke had three minutes.

Weiss voiced his displeasure when Walters asked him to wrap up his comments after it went over the allotted three minutes. “Mr. Walters is going to shut me up and he doesn’t want to hear the criticism,” Weiss added.

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2012-12-20 | 14:05:04
End government secrecy
It's time to put an end to 'executive sessions'! Without public openness about what the government is doing, there is always corruption!