Niagara Gazette

December 7, 2013

Town of Niagara project draws complaints

By Mia Summerson
Niagara Gazette

TOWN OF NIAGARA — A group of residents filled the boardroom at town hall on Thursday evening to voice concerns about an issue impacting the Ziblut Court and Effie Drive neighborhoods.

During a town board work session, residents complained that, as a result of the Benderson Wetlands Development Project, much of the foliage between to the two streets has been removed. Residents said they are displeased with not only the unsightliness of their backyards but also the new lack of privacy that comes with it.

“Up until two weeks ago we had no idea what was going on,” said area resident Pat Viola. “It looks like a logging project, drive down Military (Road) and see all the trees that came down.”

Residents said they did not feel as though they were given adequate notice of the work to be done. Ken Micon, who also lives in the area, said all he got was a flier in the mail saying not to be concerned if workers were seen in the backyard.

The residents also took issue with the fact that part of the original plan seems to have been ignored. Twenty feet of forest was to remain on either side to serve as a buffer between the work zone and residential properties.

Maimie Volpe, a resident of Ziblut Court, came to the meeting armed with photos to prove her point. The first image depicted her home with a lush, green forest behind it. The second shot, she said, was the view from her back window. The trees had been removed, creating an unattractive setting, and the view into the back yard across the property was crystal clear.

“I left one day, this was my backyard, I had trees all over,” said Volpe as she showed the photographs to the board. “I come back the next day, not a tree in sight. Nothing. I can see clear across to Effie Drive. This is not what we bought this property for.”

Town board members assured residents that a meeting would be held as soon as possible with a representative from Benderson Development and a representative from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

They say if the work being done is in violation of the approved site plan, then the DEC may issue a stop work order until a solution for the problem can be agreed upon.