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SUIT URGED OVER SITE FOR SEWER SHAFT

Delaware Council Member Alfred T. Coppola said Thursday he wants the Common Council to take the Buffalo Sewer Authority to court to force a change in the location of an 85-foot-deep shaft included in plans to ease North Buffalo cellar flooding.

The shaft is to be dug at the intersection of Wesley and Huntington avenues. It is part of a flood-control plan to build a tunnel between Hertel and Parker avenues and a quarry off East Amherst Street.

Area residents are concerned about disruptions from blasting, a street closing and hindered access to their homes.

"To dig up people's front yards and disturb residents is totally ludicrous," Coppola said. "These people have a legitimate gripe."

He put a resolution on Tuesday's Council agenda calling for the city Law Department to start a suit against the authority.

Council members on Wednesday evening held a public hearing on the issue, but the authority sent no representative on the grounds there already had been a public meeting on plans for the flooding-relief project.

Coppola may be able to stage a question-and-answer session anyway. Mayor Griffin has just reappointed two authority members, Theodore Mikoll and Bradley J. Hurd. The Council has confirmation powers. The normal route is for such appointments to be referred to the Council Legislation Committee, where appointees can be questioned. Coppola heads the committee.

"I'm going to notify the people to be there. That's the only hammer we have. Let these guys answer their questions about the project," Coppola said.

The next committee meeting is June 6 at 2 p.m.

Can the shaft be moved? "Anything is possible, given enough time and money," said Gillman J. Laehy, general manager of the authority.

Laehy added: "Tell Mr. Coppola to do whatever he thinks he has to do. I'll do what I think I have to do. I'm trying to help people, not hinder them."

Laehy said the Huntington-Wesley shaft originally was expected to take 18 months to complete, but that the job specifications have been changed. Now the contractor will have 12 months from start to finish.

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