Billboard Moratorium Halts Scenic Byway Progress

LITTLE VALLEY – The plan has been to extend the Southtowns Scenic Byway Trail into Cattaraugus County. The current 71-mile loop would encapsulate the central part of Cattaraugus County, using the Route 219 corridor as a major pathway. That plan has been met with opposition since it was presented to the legislature in March.

Since April, the extension of the trail has been stuck in the committee structure of county government, being tabled in both Economic Development and Agriculture as well as Finance Committees. A sole issue looms that holds the proposed support of the project from coming to the floor for a full vote, and Bob Lennartz, the organizer of the trail, seems to be on the losing end of the battle.

Two county legislators have been vocal on preventing the trail from being included along Route 219 through the county. District 6 Legislator Dan Hale, R-Portville, and District 4 lawmaker William Sprague, D-Yorkshire. Both cite the moratorium language in the plan that would prevent new billboards from being constructed along the route. New information has also been interpreted to also prevent billboards under maintenance being re-established in the same location. Both men work in businesses that utilize promotional material, such as billboards.

The resolution of support, because of the lack of support in committees, still sits on the table for both. The issue has been revisited after Lennartz emailed members of the committees to find out what they would need to entertain another presentation to move the support.

The plan had been met with support form the entire planned route, with the exception of the town of Great Valley, who voted the project down in April. The planned route, with the exception of the town of Ashford, already has a moratorium on billboard construction with similar language as the Byways bill, to include Great Valley.

If the resolution of support is not taken up by the end of the legislative year, it dies in committee and would need to be brought up at the beginning of the process again in the next legislative year, according to County Attorney Tom Brady.