Willy Wonka brings chocolate factory, zany characters to Holley stage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 March 2023 at 9:26 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Gabe Lindsay stars as Willy Wonka in Holley Junior-Senior High School’s production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka. This is from the opening scene of “Pure Imagination” and Willy Wonka is joined by Oompa-Loompas.

Holley performs the musical with shows at 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Junior-Senior High School Auditorium.

Tickets are available online. Click here for more information.

Ava Quincey plays the role of Charlie Bucket, left, and Charlie is very excited to have found a golden ticket in one of the Wonka chocolate bars. Charlie will be joined by Grandpa Joe (played by Owen Schultz) in a tour of the Wonka chocolate factory.

They are singing one of the shows catchy numbers, “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket.”

The Holley musical is directed by Dustin Gardner. Gardner played the role of Willy Wonka when he was a Kendall student in 2009.

Gardner made his directing debut for Holley last year with Footloose. He said Willy Wonka has a broad appeal to people of all ages. There are 40 students in the cast and another 20 in the crew.

“I’m most excited for the kids who are in a production for the first time,” Gardner said before Tuesday’s rehearsal. “Once they get the lights on them it’s a rush you can’t explain.”

Jax Richards-Dyson is Phineous Trout, a reporter who announces the winners of the Golden Ticket contest throughout the show. Here he interviews Augustus Gloop (played by Jose-Angel Valentin) and Mrs. Gloop (Maggie Skehan).

Augustus loves to eat, and sings “I Eat More!”

Valentin speaks in a German accent and wears some padding for the role. He said the cast members have been very excited about Willy Wonka.

“We’re very much out of our comfort zones,” Valentin said.

Phineous Trout interviews Violet Beauregarde (Ellie Quincey) and her mother, Mrs. Beauregarde (Allison Merle) after Violet finds one of the five Golden Tickets. Violet is a prolific chewer of gum.

(Left) Jayda Shampine plays Veruca Salt, a very wealthy, spoiled brat who sings, “I Want It Now.” Her father is played by Kohle Pachla. (Right) Mike Teavee (Nico Unterborn) is also one of the five Golden Ticket winners. He is addicted to video games. His mother is played by Isla Schultz.

Gabe Lindsay also plays the role of the “The Candy Man.” He sells Wonka chocolate bars. Charlie is the only kid too poor to buy one.

Lindsay said the show has been fun for the cast and crew. The musical sends a powerful theme, he said.

“Don’t be mean, and don’t be a greedy little kid.”

Holley looks to add security cameras to gazebo area by canal park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 March 2023 at 1:52 pm

HOLLEY – The village is looking to add security cameras to the canal park including gazebo, bathrooms and shower facility, a kiosk with artwork and part of the canal path.

Holley is pursuing proposals from different companies to provide the service as well as WiFi access. Mayor Mark Bower wants cameras on the village’s assets by the canal, especially because Holley is spending $15,200 to tear off and install new shingles on gazebo, bathrooms and kiosk, and replace any rotten plywood on the cupola. The Village Board last month approved the bid from Roger Passarell Construction for that work.

In other action at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting:

• The board voted to continue the real estate listing of the former Village Office building at 72 Public Square for $74,900. That building from 1888 has 4,554 square feet. Click here to see the listing by Early Sunrise Realty.

• Approved hiring Chad Fabry of Murray as a backup part-time code enforcement officer at $27 per hour. He will fill in if Carol McNees is unavailable. Fabry is the code enforcement officer for the Village of Brockport.

• Hired Theresa Weed at $14.25 an hour for up to 20 to organize the paper files and filing for code enforcement office and zoning and planning board.

• Appointed Trustee John Morriss to serve as deputy mayor. He succeeds Connie Nenni who resigned from the Village Board last month.

“I very much miss the previous deputy mayor,” Mayor Bower said. “I appreciate everything that Connie did.”

• Sandra Shaw, director of the Community Free Library in Holley, invited the board members to attend a wine-tasting at the library from 7 to 9 p.m. on April 28. Tickets are $25 each or two for $40 and proceeds go towards funding summer programs at the library.

• Former Mayor and Police Chief Lewis Passarell asked if Holley is staffing its police department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Passarell said it looks like some shifts aren’t being filled.

Police Chief Bob Barton said the department has frequent turnover, with two of the full-time officers recently leaving for larger departments with higher salaries.

“Are there gaps in the schedule? Absoutely,” Barton responded. “We do the best that we can to provide you with 24-7.”

Barton said there is currently one open shift during the week. He said the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office and State Police help cover the needs of the community. But Passarell said that comes at a slower response than from the Holley officers.

When fully staffed Holley has three full-time officers including the police chief, and eight part-timers.

• Set 6 p.m. on April 11 for a public hearing on the village budget for 2023-24. Bower said the budget is shaping up to be under the tax cap. However, Holley approved a resolution to have the option to override the tax cap, which is about a 2 percent increase. That override was “a precautionary measure” in case the final numbers exceed the cap, Bower said.

Developer says he’s stymied by village in trying to move forward with Holley Hotel

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 March 2023 at 1:20 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Rollin Hellner, founder and CEO of Hellner Development Company, said the village is putting up roadblocks in his efforts to upgrade the Holley Hotel.

HOLLEY – The developer looking to acquire the Holley Hotel and upgrade the site, with some of the units to be available for hotel rooms, said he is close to walking away from the project due to roadblocks from village officials.

Rollin Hellner, founder and CEO of Hellner Development Company, said the village has put a stop work order on his attempts to resolve code violations and secure a certificate of occupancy.

He has been working on the building while finalizing a deal with Kathy Blackburn to acquire the site.

Hellner spoke at Tuesday’s Village Board and said Holley has been a difficult municipality to work with, compared to his experiences in other communities, including the City of Buffalo where he said he did a $28 million renovation project.

“It is a really beautiful historical building,” Hellner said about the Holley Hotel. “Our goal is to clean it up.”

Residents in apartments at the Holley Hotel were forced to leave the site on Aug. 24 after the previous village code enforcement officer deemed the building was unsafe and unsanitary on Aug. 3. Residents were given three weeks to find alternative housing.

Hellner said Blackburn made progress with many of the violations and public health issues. He said the rodent and bed bug issues are resolved. The fire escape also has been repaired.

He would like to move forward but isn’t clear why the village stopped work on the building.

“There are currently no hazards,” he said. “A certificate of occupancy should be issued.”

Mayor Mark Bower said at the meeting he didn’t appreciate Hellner’s characterization of village employees and how they’ve handled the issues at the site.

Contacted today he said that Holley’s attorney John Sansone and code enforcement officer Carol McNees are meeting with Hellner to discuss the situation.

Some Holley residents push back on events center on Bennetts Corners Road

Photos by Tom Rivers: Russell and Kristine Wood of Hilton show a rendering of a building that they would like to construct along Bennetts Corners Road to host weddings and other special events.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 March 2023 at 10:07 am

HOLLEY – Russell and Kristine Wood of Hilton searched the region for an ideal spot for a new venue to host weddings and special events.

A 60-acre site along Bennetts Corners Road, near Route 31 on the east side of the village, is a perfect spot in a beautiful natural environment, Mr. Wood said at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.

Kristine Wood holds a rendering for the interior of the building.

He wants to build a structure that could accommodate up to 300 people. There would be a parking lot with 100 spots.

But the property currently isn’t zoned for commercial. And many of the neighbors said they are concerned about the added noise and traffic in such a quiet area of the village.

“Bennetts Corners Road is already a mess with traffic,” said Kim DeFrank, who lives across the road from the site.

Holley is looking to update its zoning map, and is proposing to make the property zoned for commercial. It currently doesn’t have any zoning designated for the vacant land.

Neighbors, including local attorney Jeff Martin, said the village has not given proper notification to the community about making land commercial. There haven’t been public hearings. There haven’t been appropriate zoning amendments and updates to the comprehensive plan, Martin said.

“This could be 6, 9, 12 months,” he said about the process. “You need to do the zoning amendments first, then the zoning map change.”

He said he is concerned the village gave the developer the go-ahead without following the proper course of action.

“It feels something is getting pushed through without doing the normal process,” Martin said.

The Woods have acquired the property with their aunt from Illinois. Mr. Wood said he has used a Skid Steer to start cleaning up the property, pulling more than a 100 tires from a wooded area, as well as many discarded automobile parts.

But he hasn’t done any other work on the property. He was going to set up a temporary storage building, but took it down.

The community turned out for the village board meeting on Tuesday. Local attorney and Holley resident Jeff Martin is at the podium sharing his concerns about a special events venue on Bennetts Corners Road. Martin said the village gives an appearance of approving the project without going through the proper process.

Mayor Mark Bower said nothing has been decided with the project and there will be plenty of opportunities for the community to weigh in if the project moves forward and there are changes to the zoning map, zoning amendments and comprehensive plan.

“They recognize they have many more hurdles to go through,” Bower said.

The mayor said the land also was pursued by developers for a housing development, and a solar project.

Mr. Wood said if the family is unable to build the special events facility at the site, they would instead likely build two houses for the family to enjoy the property.

However, he wants more people to be able to enjoy the site for special events. That includes the Holley community, which would use the facility for prom, a Christmas event and other activities.

“We intend to do a lot for the community,” he said.

Danny Dill to retire after nearly 50 years of selling outdoor power equipment in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2023 at 3:42 pm

Danny’s Equipment, which includes small engine repair, to close on June 30

Photos by Tom Rivers: Danny Dill and his wife Nancy are in the show room today at Danny’s Equipment at 122 W. Albion St. (Route 31) in Holley. Dill is retiring on June 30 and will be closing the business which he started at age 21 in 1977.

HOLLEY – Danny Dill is calling it a career. For nearly 50 years he has sold outdoor power equipment and repaired small engines.

On June 30, he is retiring and closing Danny’s Equipment at 122 West Albion St. He started the business when he was 21 in 1977. He has grown the size of the business, and added two full-time employees. His wife Nancy also joined the operation in 1986 as the accountant and office manager.

“Thank you to all of the people who have supported us over the years,” Dill said today at Danny’s. “We have enjoyed it.”

Dill, 67, and his wife are going to retire while they feel very healthy and can travel to see their daughter out west and Dill’s sister in Idaho. They want to enjoy life without the daily demands of running the business.

Dill said sales have steadily grown each year with people seeking snowblowers, lawn mowers, power blowers, chainsaws, log splitters and weed trimmers. Dill manages the sales while Mark Jackman has been the small engine repair mechanic for 25 years. Ian McGraw has worked for Danny’s the past two years. He does some repairs and makes deliveries, helping customers set up the equipment.

Danny’s is a dealer for products made by Stihl, Toro and Ariens.

“Our service and knowledge is what sets us apart,” he said. “It gives us an advantage.”

Danny Dill has been a fixture along Route 31, selling lawn mowers, snowblowers and other outdoor power equipment.

Danny’s has worked with customers going back two to three generations. They like equipment that he calls “labor savings devices,” especially in winter when it’s much easier to start a snowblower than shovel heavy snow.

The zero-turn lawnmowers have been especially popular in the past 25 years. Customers with big yards can cover a lot of ground in about half the time as a typical riding lawn mower, and the zero-turn mower has much more maneuverability, Dill said.

“People are very busy,” he said. “They want something where they can get the job done faster.”

Dill also has seen a transition to more battery-powered equipment.

He was planning a career as automotive technician. He earned a degree from Alfred State in auto tech, but instead started fixing lawnmowers. His services were in demand right away and Dill never looked back.

“It’s been a very challenging career,” he said. “I’ve always looked forward to it, to coming to work each day.”

Murray works to adopt first farmland protection plan in Orleans County

Photos by Tom Rivers: Dale and Carol Strong look at a map showing the agricultural parcels in the Town of Murray. The town held a public forum on Thursday evening to discuss a farmland protection plan.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 March 2023 at 9:50 am

MURRAY – Town officials want to assist local farmers in boosting the profitability of their operations, to help ensure a strong agricultural sector. That includes farms of all sizes, from people with part-time ventures to large operations that are hundreds and thousands of acres.

Murray is working to develop the first farmland protection plan in Orleans County, an effort funded through a $25,000 state grant. Town officials and members of the a steering committee working on the plan held a public forum on Thursday.

They are hoping to develop a draft of the plan soon with a public hearing to follow. A final plan would then be referred to the Orleans County Farmland Protection Board for review and then be adopted by the Town Board. The state Department of Ag & Markets gives the plan the last review.

Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said a farmland protection plan doesn’t put new restrictions on farmers. It will help them access resources and also help the town set policies to support agriculture, Sidonio told about 30 people at the public forum.

Barbara Johnston, a planner with Labella Associates, has served as consultant for the town on the project. She said Murray is blessed with very productive soils.

“You really have a high quality resource,” she said.

Despite those high-quality soils, Johnston said much of the farmland in Murray is not included in an ag district. She said an ag district offers many benefits for the farmers, including protections from nuisance lawsuits when people sue other normal farm operations, which could be odors or mud on roads. The districts also can give farmers exemptions from paying towards water districts, and also provide more protection from eminent domain where private land can be taken for projects deemed in the public good.

Katie Sommerfeldt, manager of the Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District, also shared how Soil & Water can assist land owners in grants for many conservation projects. Soil & Water also provides engineering expertise for drainage tiling and projects to help move water on properties.

That agency does agricultural value assessments which can save land owners’ money by paying less in taxes for less profitable acreage.

Sommerfeldt urged farmers and landowners to reach out to the office, especially if they see creeks or ditches clogged. That is becoming an issue with many dead ash trees falling into waterways.

Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, said there are programs through the Extension to assist farm operations of all sizes, including specialized teams for fruits, vegetables and livestock. Cornell also has many programs for smaller farms. There also is the Farm Net program to assist farmers with business consulting, family dynamics, mental health and business transfers.

Robert Batt of the Cornell Cooperative Extension said there are specialized teams to help farmers boost their profitability and avoid pitfalls.

Batt also touted a commercial kitchen in the Trolley Building at the 4-H Fairgrounds that is available to be rented out to help farmers with value-added products.

Batt is on the steering committee working on the farmland protection plan for Murray. Other members include Town Councilman Michael Mele (owner of a garlic farm), Alex Penna (owner of Rockin P Farm and Dam Farms), Amy Machamer (owner of Hurd Orchards and member of NYS Governor’s Ag Advisory Committee), Robert Batt (Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County) and James Bensley (Orleans County Planning Director).

Johnston, the planning consultant, led the group in a SWOT analysis to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to agriculture in Murray.

Some strengths listed include the productive soils, access to canal water for irrigation, good road infrastructure for east-west transport, close proximity to Lake Ontario allowing for microclimate to grow fruit, close access to major population centers to sell farm products, Right to Farm law in place in Murray.

Weaknesses identified include high cost of business with taxes, rising wages and state regulations. New York has a higher minimum wage and has enacted an overtime threshold in agriculture that puts local operations at a competitive disadvantage with many other states. There are also fewer processing plants, such as Duffy Motts and Hunts which used to have a local presence.

Opportunities for farmers could be tapping into agri-tourism, including setting up markets by the canal and at local RV parks. Smaller farm operations could produce honey or grow flowers.

Solar projects – big and small – were identified as a big threat to local farmland.

The steering committee will work to recommend strategies and goals to help foster a stronger ag sector in Murray. Johnston said she expects the plan will be finalized this summer.

Sidonio said he is hopeful the plan could become a model for the rest of the county to make the county’s leading industry even more vibrant.

“I’d like to thank all of the farmers in our county for providing the beautiful landscape we enjoy and often take for granted, said Sidonio, who is married to Machamer of Hurd Orchards. “It os the farmer who provides the fabric that binds us together and allows us to proudly claim we live in rural America. So thank you to all of our farmers and farm families.”

County planners recommend against zoning map changes for Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 February 2023 at 1:17 pm

Village needs to first fully update comprehensive plan and zoning texts

Courtesy of Orleans County Department of Planning & Development: This map shows the zoning districts in the Village of Holley.

HOLLEY – The Village of Holley is looking to update its zoning map, including a large parcel of land on Bennetts Corners Road as commercial, an expansion of the light industrial zone going south of the railroad tracks, and more land designated as conservation near the Holley Waterfalls.

The Orleans County Planning Board recommended against the changes right now, saying the village first needs to update the comprehensive plan and zoning texts. Changing the map is the last step in the process, Planning Board members said during their meeting last Thursday.

Holley hasn’t updated the map since 2008. The village is working to update the comprehensive plan.

Jeff Martin, a local attorney and Holley resident, said the village has the steps in the process out of order. He said the village also needs to do a “type 1 action” or the longer environmental impact study because more than 25 acres are being rezoned.

Martin said about 40 percent of the total village acreage would be rezoned as part of the updated zoning map.

He is most concerned with rezoning 60 acres on Bennetts Corners Road near Route 31. A developer from Chicago wants to develop that agricultural land into a banquet facility with 100 parking spaces. Martin and another neighbor, Roger Passarell, would have that facility within view of their backyards. They both attended Thursday’s Planning Board meeting.

Martin said the zoning map change appears to be an effort “to legitimize this for the developer without going through the normal process of comprehensive plan and zoning amendments.”

Mylynda Kuba, Holley’s former code enforcement officer, said the village has already passed local laws for some of the zoning map changes, especially in the downtown business district.

“There are currently a lot of open zoning areas,” she said. “The current map doesn’t work. There’s a lot that needs to be done in the Village of Holley.”

Murray voters approve $900K for new fire truck and refurbished mini-pumper

Photo by Tom Rivers: This pumper-tanker was moved out of the Holley fire hall this evening for a special election. The fire truck is one of two that will be sold and replaced with one new pumper-tanker and a rescue truck that will be refurbished into a mini-pumper.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 February 2023 at 10:03 pm

MURRAY – Voters in the Murray Joint Fire District approved spending up to $900,000 for a new pumper-tanker fire truck and a refurbished rescue truck that will serve as a mini-pumper.

There was a special election this evening from 6 to 9 p.m. and the expenditures were approved by a 66-45 vote.

The Murray Joint Fire District will be replacing two pumper-tankers that are each about 25 years old. One is based at the Holley fire hall and the other at the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray hall. They each can carry 1,000 gallons of water.

They will be replaced with a new pumper-tanker at a cost of $680,000. Fire district leaders also will convert a rescue truck into a mini-pumper at a cost of $220,000.

The district leaders opted to do the smaller mini-pumper rather than buy two new pumper-tankers to try to reduce the costs to the fire district, said Mark Porter, chairman of the commissioners.

Refurbishing the rescue truck into a mini-pumper also will be easier to get the vehicle into tight driveways and on laneways, Porter said.

The fire district will pursue financing through serial bonds or statutory installment bonds up to 20 years, and may utilize bond anticipation notes for up to five years for the $680,000. For the $220,000, the financing would be for up to 15 years.

Murray will have public forum March 2 to discuss future of farming in the town

Posted 15 February 2023 at 11:40 am

Press Release, Town of Murray

MURRAY – The Town of Murray will hold a public forum on Thursday, March 2, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, 3840 Fancher Rd. as part of the Town of Murray Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan.

Farmers, farmland owners, residents and others interested in the future of farming and farmland in the Town of Murray are invited to attend.

The program on March 2 will include an overview of the town’s agricultural resources and the Agricultural & Farmland Protection Plan as well as presentations on the following topics:

  • Technical assistance and science-based educational programs, including resources for small farms and new and beginning farmers (Robert Batt, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County)
  • Agricultural Environmental Management and Agricultural Use Assessment (Katie Sommerfeldt, Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District)
  • Orleans County Agricultural District Program (Barbara Johnston, LaBella Associates)

The Town’s Agricultural & Farmland Protection Plan will recommend strategies to increase economic opportunities for farms, retain high quality farmland for continued agricultural production and support the contributions of agriculture to the regional economy.

A survey of farmers and farmland owners is underway. The Town expects to complete the Agricultural & Farmland Protection Plan by Fall 2023.

A Steering Committee comprised of Michael Mele, Alex Penna, Amy Machamer, Robert Batt (Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County) and James Bensley (Orleans County Planning Director) is working with the Town’s planning consultant (LaBella Associates) to prepare the Town’s Agricultural & Farmland Protection Plan.

For more information, please contact one of the Steering Committee members or planning consultant Barbara Johnston at (585) 295-6636.

Developer from Medina buys The Walsh, will soon acquire Holley Hotel

Photos by Tom Rivers: Rollin Hellner, founder and CEO of Hellner Development Company, is pictured Saturday outside The Walsh at 525 West Ave. in Medina. He purchased the building last Wednesday from Tim Cooper.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 February 2023 at 10:15 am

MEDINA – A Medina man with a real estate development business has acquired The Walsh and soon will buy the Holley Hotel.

Rollin Hellner, founder and CEO of Hellner Development Company, is only 29. He already has a real estate portfolio of several hundred thousand square feet with commercial and residential sites in Orleans, Niagara and Erie counties. He focuses on what he said are typically distressed properties.

Hellner lives in Medina in the Maple Crest, a 5,500-square-foot home that he renovated last year.

He had lived in Medina from 2015 to 2020 and was happy to come back to the village last year.

He has been friends with Tim Cooper for several years. Cooper bought The Walsh and worked three years on the first floor of the site. He opened a barroom and second tap room last summer.

Cooper had plans for the second and third floors, but will hand off the project to Hellner who is planning to make second floor apartments and third floor hotel rooms at The Walsh.

“He has a lot of energy and a lot of talent,” Cooper said about Hellner.

The new owner praised Cooper for his work at The Walsh, turning it into a popular gathering place for the community at 525 West Ave.

“Tim did a fantastic job with it,” Hellner said Saturday at The Walsh, as many people were coming into the tap room as part of the Wine About Winter event, with 800 people enjoying wine-tastings at 22 spots in Medina.

Cooper will stay on at The Walsh, managing the tap room.

“He did a lot of improvements that that brought back the original historic character,” Hellner said.

He also praised Cooper for creating a vibe at The Walsh that is focused on conversation and connecting with other people.

“We want it to continue to be a place where Medina residents feel comfortable,” Hellner said.

Rollin Hellner is his company will go through and renovate each of the 40 units at the Holley Hotel.

He also will close on buying the Holley Hotel on March 1. He has an agreement to start work on the site this week. There are some code violations that need to be resolved before people can move back into the building.

Residents in apartments at the Holley Hotel were forced to leave the site on Aug. 24 after the village code enforcement officer deemed the building was unsafe and unsanitary on Aug. 3. Residents were given three weeks to find alternative housing.

Some of the issues have been addressed, and Hellner and his team will work to get the site up to code. He said there will be a rebranding of the site, which will continue to be called the Holley Hotel. There are about 40 units in the Medina sandstone structure at the corner of Route 31 and Thomas Street.

There will be a screening process for tenants in the apartments, and he would like to offer hotel rooms. Initially, the units will be mostly apartments, but long-term he would like about half of the units to be hotel rooms. The building also includes two storefronts.

He said his development company will work on some parts of the outside of the building and go unit by unit inside, renovating the spaces.

“It’s a beautiful building,” Hellner said. “It’s very important piece of the Public Square.”

Mayor Mark Bower said he is very encouraged to see Hellner will be acquiring the site and putting resources into the building and giving it a new image in the community.

Hellner said he sees a lot of potential with Holley with its unique Public Square and its tourist attraction with the Holley Waterfalls.

His projects in Medina, Holley. Middleport, Lockport, Buffalo and Newfane are ambitious efforts, but Hellner said he sees the area as a good investment.

The properties in the villages are more affordable than in the suburbs, and he said he has a dedicated team that knows how to make the properties attractive for residents and businesses.

“I feel very good about a lot of the communities in Niagara and Orleans,” Hellner said. “We offer clean and affordable housing and real estate. I think there’s deals to be made here.”

Murray proposes ordinance with 4 tiers for solar projects

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2023 at 9:34 am

MURRAY – The Town of Murray’s proposed solar law includes four tiers for projects which differs from most of the local towns which divvy the projects into two tiers.

Murray officials have been working on the proposed law for about a year, code enforcement officer Mylynda Kuba said during last week’s Orleans County Planning Board meeting.

Murray is proposing the following tiers:

• Tier 1 (Capacity up to 25 kW) – Permitted in all zoning districts and exempt from site plan review. They could be roof mounted or ground mounted.

• Tier 2 (Capacity up to 1 megawatt and which generate no more than 100 percent of the electricity consumed on the site over the previous 12 months) – Permitted in all zoning districts as accessory structures and subject to site plan review; view minimized from adjacent properties; requires a landscape plan.

• Tier 3 (Capacity up to 5 megawatts and up to 40 acres in size) – Issuance of special use permit and site plan review, and permitted in residential/agricultural and industrial zones; must complete a study to be submitted to local airports for encroachment issues; shall be screened from adjoining uses and any roadway.

• Tier 4 (projects not included in tiers 1, 2 or 3) – Issuance of special use permit and site plan review, and permitted in residential/agricultural and industrial zones; eligible for solar systems PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) and will require a host community agreement fee; same restrictions and requirements as a tier 3 system but with additional requirements including an agricultural impact statement to determine impact on agriculture in town and community; economic impact study to determine economic impact of project on town; and proposal for host community agreement that reflect large-scale impacts of the project.

Kuba, the town’s code officer, said no current solar projects have been submitted to the town, but she said many farmers are being approached about projects.

The town’s proposed code establishes regulations and an application process for projects of all sizes. Kuba said the rules from the town give farmers and larger land owners options to host projects with fewer regulations than going through the state process.

Murray’s law doesn’t address larger battery storage systems for solar. Kuba said town officials want more information on large battery storage projects before establishing regulations.

The town’s law also addresses solar projects that are abandoned or deemed inoperative. Those systems, regardless of size, shall be decommissioned and removed at the owner’s expense.

The County Planning Board recommending Murray approve the proposed regulations.

County officials back plan for Murray landscaping business

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 January 2023 at 10:43 am

Recommends Albion rezone 2 sites on 31A to general commercial

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board is recommending the Town of Murray approve a special use permit and the site plan for a landscaping business in a residential-agriculture district at 3733 Hulberton Rd.

Nicholas Bell and Hannah Beall own and operate Bell Design & Landscape. They plan to run the business from their property using 1.3 acres of a 14.1 acre site for the business.

Their plan includes construction of a 40-by-70-foot barn with the potential of a 40-by-30-foot addition in the future.

There would also be a 20-by-70-foot lean-to off to the south of the newly constructed barn. There would also be two greenhouses at 65 by 32 feet, and a 45-by-20-foot office attached to the north of the barn.

The business currently has three employees. Most of the coming and going from the site would be in the morning and late afternoons.

Planners recommended approval of storage and sale of topsoil, mulch, wood chips and similar products as long as they are stored at least 300 feet from any residential structure and 50 feet from any property line. Any piles of those products should not exceed 25 feet in height.

Any repairs to construction equipment for the business also should be done inside a building, planners said.

In the meeting last Thursday evening, the County Planning Board also recommended the Town of Albion amend its zoning map from residential-agriculture to general commercial for land at 14530 East Lee Rd. owned by Land Pro Equipment, and 14846 East Lee Rd. owned by Henry Haines. The two sites are 3.3 acres.

The Land Pro site is for sale. Frontier Heating & AC Service is looking to acquire it. The spot used to be used as a cabbage storage facility and more recently by BCA Ag technologies. Land Pro is combining its Oakfield and Albion locations with a new site in Batavia.

The property next door owned by Haines has been used for auto repairs.

Holley sets Pre-K and kindergarten registration for March 15

Posted 24 January 2023 at 1:02 pm

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – The school district’s Pre-K and kindergarten registration will be on Wednesday, March 15, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Registration will be held in the Elementary Library Classroom. Please bring the following original documents to register your child: completed registration packet, birth certificate, immunization record and proof of residency (for example, utility bill). Copies will be made during your visit.  You will not be able to register without these documents.

To be eligible to register for Pre-K, children must be 4 years old by Dec. 1, 2023. To be eligible to register for kindergarten, children must be 5 years old by Dec. 1, 2023.

Pre-K and kindergarten health physicals are required to be completed by Sept. 1, 2023.

If you need assistance completing the registration packet, we can help you on March 15, when you bring in your packet and other required documents.

To request a registration packet, click here and it can be mailed to you.

If you have any questions, please call Alexa Downey at 585-638-6318, extension 2580.

Holley students hear from Medina author of book on love set in WWI, WWII

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2023 at 4:36 pm

Provided photos

HOLLEY – Julie Berry of Medina, front, met with Holley 10th graders last Wednesday for a presentation on her book, Lovely War. Berry addressed about 65 students during a presentation, where she also played ragtime music on the piano.

The sophomores are reading the book in their English classes.

Berry in her presentation covered the major themes in the book such as segregation, trench warfare, Greek gods and ragtime music.

Berry, owner of Author’s Note in Medina, also signed copies of the book for students. The book is set in World War I & II.

The book averages a 4.25 star rating out of 5 with 46,070 ratings and 8,862 reviews on Goodreads, the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Click here to see the reviews.

Julie Berry played ragtime music and discussed her book with Holley students last week.