By Dave O'Connor
CHAUTAUQUA - Banning hydraulic fracturing and shale gas drilling in the Town of Chautauqua was recommended by a resident who appeared at the board's meeting Monday.
Audrey Dowling, a town resident, used the public comment part of the session to remind board members of a state appellate court ruling in May upholding local government prohibition of so-called hydro-fracking and shale gas drilling within their boundaries.
Dowling handed out a list showing locales that have a moratorium, actual ban and active petitions for either or both. No Chautauqua County municipality appears on the list, which was compiled online by fractraker.org.
Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, responded by noting that a special county meeting concerning certain types of drilling methods is scheduled Sept. 18. Croscut said, "I'm not here to take sides," but added that many farmers and other land owners want to lease to drillers.
On another matter, Supervisor Don Emhardt asked the three county legislators attending the meeting about enforcement of the proposed smoking ban on all county property; a ban which, he said, would include those parts of the town office building leased by the county.
Croscut agreed, "It's going to be unenforceable."
"It'll be self-enforced," was the opinion of Vince Horrigan, R-Ellery. Dave Himelein, R-Findley Lake, said he believes it's "an education problem" and probably enforcement will be "on the honor system."
A hearing on a proposed local law to allow the town to override the 2-percent tax levy limit was set by the board for Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Such overrides have become routine since the limit was inaugurated by the Cuomo administration.
Emhardt announced the resignation of Dave Lindquist from the town's zoning board of appeals. Roberta Tenpas was unanimously approved by the board to replace him.
Horrigan told the board he had recently visited the neighborhood along Elmwood Road and was pleased to see various improvements. "It looks like a whole different place," he said.
Emhardt said he still was not satisfied but agreed that "it looks a lot better now." Residents along Elmwood and the nearby canal appeared at the board's July 2012 session and alleged the neighborhood was beset with drug dealing, domestic abuse and squalid cottages.
At that session, Emhardt was very critical of various county agencies, especially the health department.