By Harold McNeil | News Staff Reporter
Williamsville Mayor Brian J. Kulpa laid out some of his goals in a State of the Village address that was streamed live Monday from the historic Village House.
Among them are plans to upgrade the village’s part-time Building Department into a full-time entity to handle a steady increase in the issuance of building permits.
Kulpa said the department, on average, issues about five building permits a month. As a result, some property inspections have slipped under the radar.
“What’s dropped off is our handling of some of the local, existing code issues,” Kulpa said in a telephone interview Monday prior to his address.
“We’re not as on top of enforcement,” he added. “Frankly, it’s nice to have more permits, but you still have to stay on top of the other stuff.”
Two new mixed-use developments in the village will require several building permits. One is a small apartment complex with ground-floor retail space at Main Street and Hirschfield Drive, across from Williamsville South High School. The second – a proposed mix of apartments and townhouses to be located in a residential area on California Drive, near the South Long Ball Diamond.
“One of those carries with them a minimum of a half a dozen permits,” Kulpa said. “At the same time, it’s very easy to get caught up with all the new stuff and then overlook a couple of things here and there in the residential areas or on Main Street.”
The mayor also alluded to the completion of a sewer-infiltration study that was begun about a year ago by village engineers to get a better sense of where there are storm water infiltration issues in the village.
“We have known issues with some of our transmission lines,” Kulpa said.
The village embarked on its storm water-infiltration analysis as a first step toward either making physical improvements to the system or consolidating the village Sewer Department with either the Town of Amherst’s or Erie County’s sewer systems.
The village completed a consolidation of its Water Department with the county Water Authority last year.
“Ultimately, our goal is to right-size the village,” Kulpa said. “There are things the village is good at, and we should be doing and that the residents want. Then there are things that, frankly, don’t make a lot of sense for what is a relatively small village to be in the business of doing.
Unburdening itself from taking on extraneous endeavors will not only save the village money, Kulpa said, but enable it to better target its resources.