by Joshua Maloni
Bruce and Andrea Blakelock say the trailer recently placed on Water Street is both disturbing to guests of their Riverside Motel and an obstruction of their waterfront view.
"The thing is, it (just) showed up. To us, it's intrusive," Bruce Blakelock said.
On May 17, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours owner John Kinney was given a permit by the Village Board allowing him to utilize an 8-by-36-feet portable restroom unit adjacent to Water Street Landing (and across the street from a portion of the Riverside Motel). The trailer is a dedicated bathroom for jet boat customers - many of whom travel to Lewiston via a bus traveling from out of state.
It will remain in place through Labor Day.
"My concern is that they (the board) never even ... had any public meetings," Blakelock said, noting the plethora of meetings trustees and Planning Board members held when discussing The Silo Restaurant's new ice cream caboose.
He said village officials told him no public meeting was required.
"That's what bothered me even more," Blakelock said.
He also was informed Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours needed extra bathrooms.
"They're making their problem my problem," Blakelock said.
"There is no way this would end up in front of the Barton Hill (Hotel)," he added. "It is blocking the view of our people. It's something that we don't like."
Mayor Bill Geiben said the difference between the trailer and the caboose is one of property ownership. The Village of Lewiston owns the property on which The Silo exists, and that land is a park. The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and the Department of State require public hearings when something is added or subtracted from this portion of Water Street.
On the other hand, the property on which the trailer rests belongs to Kinney's Niagara Gorge Jet Boating Ltd. (which also owns Water Street Landing). As such, Geiben said Kinney is in keeping with the commercially zoned district's rules, and that no public meeting was necessary.
"Because it's a parkland, there's a different set of rules," Geiben said.
In the past, village officials noticed patrons relieving themselves in the bushes behind Water Street Landing.
"It is a necessity of (Kinney's) business to have adequate washrooms," Geiben said.
Geiben said the trailer is blocking scrub trees and will, itself, shortly be screened. The surrounding area also will be landscaped with bushes and lattice.
He noted the trailer is a temporary solution, and said he wouldn't be surprised if additional restrooms are later incorporated into the Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours facility on the river.
"(Kinney) is planning on doing some remodeling of the building - but it's not going to happen this year," Geiben said. "When he remodels, he may be able to address the issue in another way. That's up to Mr. Kinney."
Attempts to reach Kinney were unsuccessful.
Blakelock was also concerned about noise. Geiben said more sounds come with working in a commercial zone.The Village of Lewiston code allows utility trailers but not livable units on Water Street.