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Proposed Canton lighting district draws opposition

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CANTON — A proposal to create a new lighting district on Riverside Drive has hit a snag.

Several residents in the affected area told the town board Monday they don’t believe the extra lighting will improve safety or cut down on problems with college students.

They also don’t want to pay the annual fee that comes with owning property in a lighting district.

“I don’t see the need for lighting,” Catherine A. Giglio said during a public hearing. “If people want lighting they can do it on their own. I’m not in favor.”

William T. Clark also voiced his opposition.

“I’m one that doesn’t see the benefit of the lighting. It won’t affect college kids partying,” he said.

The idea was spearheaded by Ronald J. Scott, a Riverside Drive resident, who circulated the petition that was required to start the process.

He argued that installing five streetlights will help slow down traffic on a short section of Riverside Drive on the outskirts of the village where many college students and others walk. Also, an Amish family has moved into the area.

“The speed has increased markedly. We have motorcycles driving on one wheel and now we have a horse and buggy,” Mr. Scott said.

Complicating the issue, town Attorney Charles T. Nash said, the district boundaries proposed by Mr. Scott call for a smaller district than the one identified in the local law that was drafted for the public hearing.

“I recommend that we have a survey description,” Mr. Nash told the council.

The disparity between the petition and the drafted law means that if Mr. Scott decides to pursue the idea he will have to circulate another petition. A second public hearing would have to be scheduled.

“It’s the safety aspect,” Mr. Scott said. “Maybe we should just take it off the table until someone gets killed.”

Telling the board he’s already put a lot of work into the process, he said he wasn’t sure if he’d try again.

Mr. Clark’s wife, Marlene, said the Amish family who lives on nearby Sykes Road doesn’t have to drive its buggy after the sun goes down.

“That’s their choice to travel after dark. We’re not making them do it,” she said.

Carol J. Spadaccini said she supports installing the extra lighting because more young families now live in the area, which she described as “pitch black” at nighttime.

“I think it would be nice to have it lit,” she said.

Town Supervisor David T. Button said he sent notices to all property owners in the 0.2-mile stretch between the town and village boundary and St. Mary’s Cemetery that provided them with an estimate of the yearly fee they would be charged for the lighting. The range is between $4 and $130 a year, with the average property owner paying $75.

In other action, the board appointed Councilman Paul F. Backus to serve as deputy town supervisor. He replaces Clark H. Carvel, who resigned from his board seat in June.

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