Weekly Feature



2016-01-27 / Front Page

Growth a continued theme at State of the Town

by STEVEN JAGORD
Editor


Supervisor Patrick Casilio delivers his first State of the Town address during a luncheon on Thursday at Orazio’s Restaurant. 
Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Supervisor Patrick Casilio delivers his first State of the Town address during a luncheon on Thursday at Orazio’s Restaurant. Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Supervisor Pat Casilio delivered his first State of the Town address before a packed house on Thursday at Orazio’s Restaurant.

Sponsored by the Clarence Chamber of Commerce, the annual event is an opportunity for the supervisor and members of the Planning Department to give the public an update on town growth and development.

Casilio opened the address by thanking town employees and sharing exciting personal news that he and his wife will become grandparents later this year. After that, he got down to brass tacks, describing the town’s seemingly exponential growth during the last decade.

“Just 10 years ago, the Town of Clarence had $1 billion worth of assessed value,” Casilio said. “We’re now up to $3.8 billion. We grew just last year in assessed value by $285 million, and $49 million of that was new construction. So as a town we’re growing, and as you can see, we don’t have skyscrapers going up all over the place, but the values of our homes are going up, the values of our properties are going up.

“A lot of it is good planning by our Town Board. But also, Clarence is worth what it’s worth because of the school system. We have got a great school system, and people desire to live in this town for the school system first, our Greenprint philosophy in town, and the parks. Because of that growth in the value of the town, we have one of the lowest tax rates in Erie County.”

Casilio briefly touched upon news from earlier in the week that Macy’s, which employs more than 80 people, would be closing at the Eastern Hills Mall. He made the announcement that Eastern Hills would be buying Macy’s building and that management will be meeting with the town to discuss other projects happening with the mall.

“The Main and Transit address is one of the most successful in Western New York, and I know the mall will be successful there,” he added.

Reflecting on accomplishments from 2105, the supervisor said during his address that one of the things he took pride in was the deal the town negotiated with the state police last year.

“They’re going to be in a new facility in the Town of Clarence for at least the next 10 years, and the building that we’re building for them, that they’re paying us a rent check on, will always be used in law enforcement in one way or anothe r,” he said. “If the state police move on, then the Sheriff’s Office can move in. If the sheriff’s go away, we might someday have our own police department. But I would like to avoid that because they’re very expensive.”

Casilio also highlighted that the town will be building a new restroom facility at Main Street Town Park.

“We have had the original one since 1955 by the large pavilion, which we have to close down during the winter,” he said. “The town is more active now.

“This bathroom is going to be heated, open all the time to the public, be open by next year at this time for our Winterfest, and be able to accommodate the activities that go on in our park 12 months of the year.”

Highlights of the Planning Department’s presentation included:

The average home in Clarence is now 3,682 square feet.

The average home value in Clarence is $417,000.

Fifteen new commercial development permits were issued in 2015, equating to 37,000 square feet of new commercial space for a total valuation of almost $6 million.

Comprehensive Plan 2025 will be adopted this year to guide future development decisions.

The Main Street Corridor Redevelopment Plan, similar to the Picture Main Street initiative in the Village of Williamsville, is being developed by engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee to help grow business in four subsections of Main between Transit Road and Clarence Hollow.

Clarence is the wealthiest town in Erie County, with the lowest unemployment and poverty rates and highest level of income.

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