Town of West Seneca

Environmental Commission Meeting Minutes


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

7:00 PM

Christian Metz Home

2001 Union Road, West Seneca

I.          CALL TO ORDER


    Gary Oosterhoudt
    Chairman;  Rick Rutkowski
    Vice-Chairman;  Roberta Vallone
    Secretary;  Joyce Mallette
    Lester Loucks
    Paula Olma
    Al Kerner

    Guests Present: -    Evelyn Hicks, Dave Monolopolus, Supervisor-elect Wallace Piotrowski

    Absent -    Christine W. Bove - Councilmember liaison, Ferol Webb


  1. Acceptance of or additions to this agenda

  2. Review and Acceptance of the minutes of the October, 2007 meeting: LL moved, GO seconded, all in favor.

  3. Recruitment: RAV will be moving in May 2008. Still have one vacancy re: youth appt. despite active efforts from Commission. WP recommends amending charter to eliminate need for youth membership. Discussion: That would leave 2 vacancies. Ferol Webb has not attended a meeting in over a year. Joyce and Al will speak to her about resignation/transition to an “emeritus” status as an associate member, so that a voting position can be filled. That would leave three vacancies. RAV: Jim Manley of Town Clerk’s office has been very helpful to Commission and is interested in an appointment. AK: Dave and Evelyn have been here for some time and have not been appointed – they should have a chance. All agreed. Jim Manley should be invited to start attending meetings. WP: The appointment process will be changing; the Board will need to see resumes that include public involvement history. RAV: Volunteered to contact Pat DiPasquale re: appointment status of current members.

  4. Balance: $2,828.24 as of May 2007


  1. Canisius Athletic Field: EH: Facility is completed but not able to hold events b/c they have no press box. There is still potential for permanent preservation of the second parcel. EH is following.

  2. Land donation: RAV: wetland parcel in question is ecologically important. Owner could donate to the town and WNYLC could hold easement. Or owner could donate the land to WNYLC. We have permission from Koller to hold over money from this year’s budget to cover transaction costs. JM: Anything over $1,000 needs to be approved by Town Board and acquisition needs to be approved by Town Board. EH: WNYLC has not looked at parcel yet. EH will follow up.

  3. Collaboration with Riverkeeper

      a.    RAV: report on compost pile and mulch. There was a complaint that the Town’s mulch and compost were contaminated with Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species. RAV enlisted help of Paul Fuhrmann, the chair of the local PRISM group, to meet with Pat Finnegan. PRISM: A NYS DEC initiative to work on invasive species issues (Regional Invasive Species Management). Mr. Fuhrmann inspected the site and found no reason for concern; the compost and mulch appear to be free of invasives and suitable for distribution. Mr. Fuhrmann did find knotweed along the perimeter of the site. These areas were recommended to Riverkeeper as potential habitat restoration site. Mr. Fuhrmann offered suggestions to us regarding grants and invasive species management. PRISM will be getting state funding. Also, there are ways to manage knotweed – Rodeo Roundup for two years in late summer with replanting of shade trees. AK: Make sure that there is training before asking town employees to use herbicide. RR: NYS was paying for mapping knotweed. PA has authority to go on private property to eradicate. We have to see where it has been effective. AK: we should take care of the places where it is public access first. (NOTE FROM SECRETARY: After the meeting, Rick Rutkowski provided information about the NYS requirements for pesticide application. That is, anyone other than a residential homeowner applying pesticide to his/her own property must be certified or under the supervision of a certified pesticide applicator.)

      b.    Habitat Goals: RAV report on the progress of the Habitat Team for the Buffalo River RAP. The habitat restoration portion of the RAP is focused on watershed to the first impassable fish barrier near Transit Road. That puts West Seneca clearly in the priority area. So far habitat appears to be good quality in West Seneca. Focus would be on preservation of existing water quality and habitat. Being a part of this program will make West Seneca eligible for grant funding for habitat protection and restoration; even if such elements are part of a larger public project.

  4. Public Boat access at Mineral Springs – no report. AK will check with Bove. RAV question re: knotweed in cleared area. AK reports that it was there to begin with and the road clearing had no impact on existing problem.

  5. OakGrove (fka potential WalMart) site – RAV will inquire as to brownfield opportunities, cost of property and other Town permit matters. (Discussion re: Town compost/mulch site: it would be great if we could get that moved away from floodplain due to leaching from piles into the creek, lawn chemical residues in grass clippings, etc.)

  6. Stormwater Outreach: Rick – is looking at opportunities for outreach and education re: storm drain stenciling. Al has commitment from Joe Cantafio who does the community service at high school. They could do the stenciling. Al talked to Pat Finnegan about it. Discussion: It would take a concerted effort to public education before we stencil. There was public outcry last time. Town roads should be done. We would have to talk to Town Board. Probably do this in May. Don’t need to work with EC DEP or Stormwater Coalition. Rick and Al will coordinate.

  7. WS library exhibit: Joyce: Our other neighbors. Animals that live in WS. Al will take out on Friday. Next library time: Discovering our back yard.

  8. Greenway Committee: Evelyn. We will set a meeting after the first of the year. Should we invite more people? Let’s get a task list together and a work plan distributed before we decide on how to solicit public involvement.


  1. Long Range Plan: We need to have a reorganization meeting in January and work on our plan. Then do Annual Report. RAV student can do the SEQRA education program in Spring. We need to do more education. Reorganization meeting will be January 8, 2008.

  2. Recruiting for Youth: we’ve had no success; see above.

  3. Evelyn and Rick and Dave went to the agricultural conservation easement program on Nov. 8.


Virtual Library: RAV and AL will work on virtual library. Jim Manley has offered to help set up website to accommodate files and reports related to Town’s environment.

Gary and Joyce reported that they were asked to review plans that are submitted to the Planning Board. The first request came in the Monday before election day. They reviewed a project called Tony’s Hairstyling. They got the plans on Wednesday and the Planning Board meeting was on Thursday. 3606 Seneca Street. Sold property. Main corridor for commercial. It was already passed. The site is less than an acre. 3 chairs for hairdressing. This appears to be spot rezoned.

Foxchase West Apartments: Planning Board will not approve because it is too congested.

Discussion: Review of these projects are within our jurisdiction. However the Town needs to require applicants to make extra copies for the Environmental Commission at the time of submitting application. We need to get all the information from the applicant so we can make an informed decision. When we re-organize after the first of the year, we will set up a subcommittee to coordinate these reviews. RAV will write a letter to Town Board and Planning Board re: asking applicants to submit plans for our review from the outset.

Meeting adjourned at 9:00.

Respectfully submitted,
Roberta Vallone, Secretary