East Aurora Advertiser

Village Candidates Respond to Questions: Peter A. SchwanFree Access

Candidate Name: Peter A. Schwan

Occupation: Attorney

How long have you lived in the village? 2 years

Education: Juris Doctor

Work History: Attorney

  1. How would you describe the work of a village trustee and how do you plan to carry out that role? 

The primary job of a village trustee is to represent the interests of the village while overseeing responsible growth and governance of local issues. As the legislative body within the Village of East Aurora, a trustee crafts local laws pertaining to the issues present in the village. I intend to utilize my experience analyzing, interpreting and advising on law to legislate concrete and clear laws that will not result in undue and expensive litigation against the village. In addition to crafting laws tailored to the interests of the village, a village trustee maintains the village budget, oversees land use and is responsible for general village governance including spending, considerations to amendments of local law and overseeing public works. I plan to carry out my work as a village trustee as I have in my position as attorney: to be a trustworthy, diligent agent for my community working to protect the interests of the people of East Aurora while maintaining the safest, most comfortable and friendly place to live.

  1. In what ways are you already active within the community? Do you volunteer with any local organizations, or find other ways to help out?

I have done extensive pro bono representation of clients, both from East Aurora and elsewhere, ensuring my clients receive equal representation, are free from discrimination and maintain healthy working conditions while making a fair wage. I have volunteered in a variety of additional respects, some of which include teaching underprivileged children how to play hockey, volunteering at expungement clinics following the legalization of marijuana in New York to ensure that documents associated with marijuana related arrests are destroyed and cannot be used for further discriminatory purposes, and have volunteered with local political organizations. I am a resident, business owner and hockey player each respectively in East Aurora and take pride in localizing my interests in our neighborhood.

  1. Why are you running for this elected position?

I am running for this position because I believe I am a capable representative of the village with sound judgment, hard work ethic and passion for my community. I take immense pride being trusted in my position as attorney to represent the interests of my clients and I would be overjoyed to be trusted to do the same for my neighbors. I want to personally ensure that each individual in our village has a voice, is considered and cared for. Further, I wish to safeguard our parks and green spaces, as places like Knox Farm, Hamlin Park and Majors Park have become a sanctuary to me personally. I want to make certain these sanctuaries are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. 

  1. The current Village Board has received a proposal to develop six homes along Walnut Street. What are your thoughts on this project as presented to the board, and do you have thoughts relative to future development and housing needs within the village?

I would prioritize affordable housing within the village. Future development should prioritize single family homes in order to maintain reasonable traffic patterns and perpetuate our quaint, quiet and charming village feel. Overdevelopment of East Aurora threatens to sacrifice our historic village climate, small town atmosphere and threatens to destroy our natural environment. Future development should be guided by our zoning code, and with respect to the novel marijuana issue, marijuana sales should be zoned properly away from children and minors. Pertaining to the Walnut Street construction, an individual’s right to develop his private property should be recognized but such homes should be single family residences and constructed to fit the village.

  1. Do you have a vision for any changes or improvements at Hamlin Park? If so, describe them. 

I live next to Hamlin Park and walk around the park with my dog nearly every day. As it stands now, I believe Hamlin Park is a wonderful refuge nestled in the village. I would prioritize keeping the park clean and maintaining the park. Hamlin Park offers a balance of active recreation areas, community gathering locations and open areas offering spaces to lounge, congregate and exercise. I see the park as a treasure already therefore my vision would be to maintain the park through paving of the track, basketball court, parking area, etc. when necessary, making necessary repairs to the playground or Aurora Players building or pavilions, or planting flowers around the park for additional aesthetic. 

  1. What do you love about East Aurora, and what is one issue that you feel could be addressed for positive change within the community?

I believe what distinguishes East Aurora from neighboring localities is an intangible feel of community which is derived from a shared kindred spirit of the villages’ inhabitants, but further promoted through the constant community engagement and festivals around the village. East Aurora does a wonderful job of bringing people together, whether it be the Roycroft Festival, Borderland Festival or simply providing an attractive Main Street destination. We are a small village in the grand scheme, but we maintain such a kind, compassionate and caring sentiment toward our neighbors and village and that seems to uplift our community. I think that sentiment is, if not crafted, then perpetuated by the vast community engagement around our village.

East Aurora has a wonderful, historic feel generated from Roycroft culture and there is a palpable pride in all inhabitants of East Aurora. We are also blessed to be one of the greenest locations in our area and the village has rightfully prioritized protecting those green spaces. I would further protect those greenspaces by establishing nature preserves at locations such as Sinking Ponds to ensure that our local ecosystems are preserved for generations beyond ours and that the wildlife inhabiting our village alongside us is given proper respect, protection and consideration. 

The four candidates for the East Aurora Village Board, incumbent Trustee Ernest Scheer, Mary “Molly” Flynn, Katherine Grace Viger and Peter Schwan have responded to questions sent to them by the East Aurora Advertiser

The questions were emailed to each candidate on Feb. 24 with a deadline of Feb. 28. For the responses, each candidate was asked to keep answers at 200 words per answer. They also supplied their own profile image. 

There are four candidates but only three seats available. 

Mayor Peter Mercurio is seeking re-election for a third term in that post. He is running unopposed. 

This year’s election marks the first time that the winners will hold a village trustee or mayoral seat for four years. The terms have always been for two years, but the Village Board voted to increase the term length in February 2021. This is the first election where the rule change will take place. 

The election is March 15 and will be held at the new town and village hall at 585 Oakwood Ave.

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