by Terry Duffy
Town of Lewiston Board members heard concerns on a stalled development and discussed future projects at its brief, but active regular session Monday night.
Residents' complaints over still unfinished residential unit construction on Legacy Drive, currently a private road in the Coach Houses at Ridgeview condo/apartment complex, were heard during the opening comments segment. Mary J. Lodico, a condo owner who lives across from the street from the Legacy Drive entrance, told Supervisor Steve Reiter and board members of neglected conditions at the complex she feels is now impacting nearby property values. "I face a sea of ugly blue tarps on many of the apartment roofs in buildings. ... The entire apartment complex has deteriorated, with unpainted and unkempt buildings, an access road dotted with potholes and temporary patch. It is beginning to look like an inner city low income housing project."
"They look terrible and give the appearance of a slum-type area," added Northridge Drive resident Bonnie Nye.
And resident Ed Chicago told of ATVs and SUVs illegally driving down the street. "That's still private, isn't it?" he asked.
Yes, it is, replied Town Attorney Mike Dowd who said the developer has been contending with several mechanics liens levied on the property. As a result, title issues remain unsettled, and the town is unable to proceed with dedication of the roadway that would lead to issuances of certificates of occupancy. "I've been in contact with others; there have been a lot of problems there," said Dowd.
Town Building Inspector Tim Masters said he is fully aware of the situation. "The owner has been cited and a court date is next. We're pursuing due process correctly. My hands are tied at this time," he said.
Masters said he can pursue action to force the owner to make the property look presentable. "If not, the town will do it and bill the owner." He added he encountered a similar situation last year with the owner over unkempt lawns and the owner complied.
"Other than issue citations, there's not much the town can do at this time," added Dowd. "It's an unfortunate situation there."
Reiter assured residents the town would stay on top of the problem and said Lewiston Police would be instructed to monitor vehicles trespassing on the property.
Also discussed at the session was the town's latest interest in Joseph Davis Park. Reiter informed he met recently with Mark Thomas, western regional director of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on executing a formal agreement, enabling the town to assume maintenance and operation of Joseph Davis State Park. "It's an opportunity for the town to take over a park that has been neglected," said Reiter, adding he intends to pursue Greenway funding for the project.
Reiter said the town would be meeting with representatives of the Audubon Society, Niagara River Anglers Association Inc. and other interests regarding future operations at the park. He added that disc golf users who frequent the park would not be forgotten.
The agreement in principle was approved Monday by attending board members (Councilmen Ernie Palmer and Al Bax were absent) and the document was expected to be on the Town of Lewiston website for public review. Reiter also revealed his interest on creating a citizens group "Friends of Joe Davis Park," for further outside input on plans for the park.
In other news from the session:
•The town set a public hearing for Monday, Feb. 14, at 5:30 p.m. on the comprehensive plan zoning code updates. The proposals are expected to be posted on the town's website.
•The town approved a negative declaration/co-location for a Verizon cell tower at 5890 West St. "We're ready to move ahead with approving the application," commented Dowd to the Verizon representatives at Town Hall.
•The town acted to take lead agency status on the Lewiston Water Pollution Control Center facilities improvement project, but left open public hearing discussions on finalizing the project. On a related matter, the Town Board announced that the Tri-Community WPCC contract was not finalized as the Town of Porter has yet to respond.
•Reiter ended the session by offering praise to Tod Craggs of Cragco Inc. of WNY on his company's donation of lighting for the recently installed flagpole outside Town Hall. "It's nice to see people like the Hastings and Tod help us on this," said Reiter, noting the donation of the flagpole by Richard and Alan Hastings last summer. "I can't thank them enough."