By Bob Balgemann


MACHESNEY PARK – Many motorists who travel Alpine Road during the winter months undoubtedly have seen Harlem High School students walking in snow, along both sides of the busy street, two and from classes.

The current winter should be the last of that hardship as the village is planning to have a new path, on the west side of the street, done in time for the start of the 2016-17 school year.

It’s a project estimated to cost $800,000 and the village has to share in the expense. Its $155,000 will come from the 5 percent utility that created controversy in 2013, before and shortly after it was approved by voters.

The village board voted 4-3 on Jan. 22, 2013, to enact the tax, effective March 1 of that year. Then-Mayor Tom Strickland cast the tying vote in favor of the tax.

Current Mayor Jerry D. Bolin, while campaigning for office later that year, said that if elected he would revisit the tax. He was elected and broached the subject in Februuary 2014. Newly elected District 3 Trustee James Kidd made a motion to have an advisory referendum on the tax but there was no second and it died on the table.

Bolin brought it up again, in April 2015. He said he would call for an advisory referendum on the March 2016 primary election ballot, as well as increasing the amount of proceeds spent on roads from 55 percent to 100 percent. It wound up being deja vu all over again for Trustee Kidd, as his motion to that effect failed for lack of a second.

Since then the tax has continued to generate more than $1 million a year and to be spent on both roads and public safety improvements. It is due to sunset Dec. 31, 2019.

The village board at its Feb. 1 meeting voted to approve using utility tax income for the Alpine Road path.

Most of the cost was generated through a $620,000 grant, which expanded the scope of the project to include a multi-use path from Lowe’s on the north to Juniper Street on the south, at Schnuck’s grocery.

Some of the work was done last year, with improvements to the fronttage road that goes from Roosevelt Road to Juniper. This is a unusual road because it is lined only by houses.

Variance receives nod

Also Feb. 1, the village’s planning and economic development committee recommended approval of variance to allow construction of a detached garage  that is seven feet taller than allowed in an R-1 residential zoning district.

In January, the planning and zoning commission recommended approval of the request.

Village Planning and Zoning Coordinator Carrie Houston explained the property recently was enlarged from 1.74 acres to 2.87 acres, by attaching part of a lot to the south, which is under common ownership.

Now the property owners want to build a large detached garage, which would be big enough to house their recreational vehicle. While the lot is large enough for an 1,800-square-foot building, it only can be 15 feet in height.

Owners Thomas and Teri Dorsey want the garage to

match their house, so they want it to have a pitched roof, rather than a flat one.

Houston said the request meets four of the six criteria required to permit issuance of a variance. The criteria primarily deal wit h the kind of effect, if any, the variance would have on the nearby and surrounding area should it be approved.

In addition, village staff believes the request is consistent with the comprehensive plan and recommended approval.

The village board is expected to consider the recommendations at Monday night’s meeting.

Athletic signing-2







Photo courtesy of Heather Kelley

Harlem players sign Letters of Intent

Wednesday, Feb. 3 was National Signing Day for Harlem football players Ryan Kelley and Josh Black. Kelley signed with Robert Morris University and Josh Black signed with Syracuse.

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