Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

June 20, 2014

Residents sound off on Bridgewater project in Lewiston

Niagara Gazette — Like many of his neighbors, George Curtis is expressing his desire to keep a 139-unit senior citizen apartment complex from being built at the intersection of Model City and Ridge roads in Lewiston.

Curtis, a former air traffic controller, expressed concern during a town planning board meeting Thursday centered on public safety and the issues a four-story building at the intersection would cause if allowed. Firefighter coordination, for instance, would be a necessity in order for a volunteer, part-time staff to battle any hypothetical top-floor incident, he said.

“We’ll be calling on volunteers to go up those stairs and carry people down,” he said. “Who’ll actually be living on the top floor? These are life and death decisions we’re making. This is not an area with four story buildings. I’m not taking away anything from our fire department, they do a great job. But can they do this? I don’t think they can.”

Curtis was among three residents who spoke at Thursday’s meeting, one week after the town’s zoning board of appeals agreed to table talk of granting variances for the project. The meeting last week left a bad taste in the mouths of many of the property’s neighbors who were denied a chance to speak publicly. 

Attorneys from Phillips Lytle, which represent Bridgewater Estates, originally asked the planning board to remove the topic from its agenda, but board Chairman Robert Martinez said the public would still be able to comment, even if thoughts from residents could be considered premature.

“We won’t be doing anything until (the zoning board) gives us something,” Martinez said. “There’s going to be a lot of opportunities for the public to speak on this matter. It has to go before the zoning board, then it comes back to us, then before the town board twice in public information sessions. So any comments (Thursday) may be premature.”

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