A proposal to sell a waterfall to the Town of Hamburg to incorporate into a
nature preserve appears to intrigue town officials and residents alike, but many
obstacles remain before the plan can be adopted.
Wednesday, the town Planning Board told developer Frank Parlato that his
offer was conceptually attractive but many details needed to be resolved.
Parlato has offered to sell the town Buttermilk Falls on 18-Mile Creek and an
adjacent acre that would provide access to town-owned land.
Richard Crandall, Planning Board chairman, called the plan "a tremendous
idea, but we have a long way to go. This is not going to happen overnight." He
cited such factors as state and county regulations as well as insurance liability
and selling price as reasons why the board would not act immediately.
Parlato said he would like to attach some conditions to the sale of parcel near
North Creek Road:
Installing railing at the steep part of the gorge.
Opening the site to everyone, not only town residents.
Establishing day and evening hours at the preserve.
Preserving specimen trees in the parking area.
He estimated that improvements to the parcels would cost $35,000 to
$40,000, including the railing, restoring the foot bridge, aerating tree roots and
improving trails and steps. He also suggested reducing the speed limit on that
part of North Creek Road to 15 mph.
"This could become a major attraction for the town," he said. "If it's open to
everyone, it could bring in tourism."
Councilman Dick Pohlman called it "a good overall proposal" but noted that
any deed restrictions, like Parlato's conditions, could create problems.
"Keeping it open at night creates an enforcement problem," he said. "Who's
going to take responsibility if kids are having parties? It's a practical problem
that we will have to address."
Charlotte Wozniak, who lives on North Creek Road, also disagreed with
night hours but favored a nature preserve open to the public.