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LACKAWANNA TO MULL LAND SALE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY SEEKS 24 FIRST WARD PARCELS

The Lackawanna City Council will hold a special meeting at 2 p.m. Friday to consider a request to sell 24 lots in the First Ward to the Lackawanna Community Development Corp.

The development corporation needs to acquire options on the 23 vacant lots and one containing a run-down house before the end of the year so that it can apply for $600,000 in state funds to build new housing, the corporation's executive director, Michael M. Edwards, told the Council Monday night. He said the funds only recently became available.

First Ward Councilman George W. Halsey III said he has reservations about the development corporation's record to date and wants more information.

The development corporation is offering the city $250 a lot. The lots are on nine different streets.

Halsey's request that action be delayed until Friday was approved, 3-2, with 2nd Ward Councilman Robert Lohr and 3rd Ward Councilman Leonard A. Woyshner voting no. The Council will meet at 1:30 p.m. Friday for a work session to discuss the proposal.

Halsey said First Ward residents are invited to a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, 195 Ridge Road, also to discuss the project.

On another matter, the Council named Lake Erie Distributors designated developer for seven city-owned lots at 65-85 Ridge Road and 14 Simon Ave.

The soft drink and beer distributor plans to expand its warehouse space and relocate its offices under a project expected to cost in the area of $500,000. The project is within the city's Economic Development Zone. It would pay the city $56,300 for the property located adjacent to its current location at Ridge and Simon.

Assistant City Attorney Joseph Deren Jr. reported that he still is studying the possibility of the city suing Bethlehem Steel Corp. over the alleged pollution it has caused, but from what he has found out so far the prospect isn't promising.

One problem would be proving that pollution caused specific damages, Deren said. Another problem would be whether the city has the standing to bring a suit. A class-action suit could be difficult because the nature of any injuries caused by pollution might vary too much, Deren said.

This is a new area of law so there is little precedent and some of the information is not yet available, Deren said. He said he is continuing his research.

In other business, the Council:

Heard City Clerk Gerald S. DePasquale and resident Ely Myzel argue during a work session about Myzel's request for copies of records. The exchange ended with Myzel saying, "I want to know why you have lost documents," and DePasquale responding, "You've made these types of irresponsible statements before and been proved a liar."

Tabled three motions by Lohr, all by 3-2 votes with Lohr and Woyshner in the minority, for appointments of residents to the Anti-Pollution Board and Board of Ethics and the proposed sale of two city-owned lots to individuals.

Heard Council President Edward D. Tokarz announce that the Council will meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday for a work session concerning enforcement of ordinances regulating coin-operated vending machines and amusement devices.

Referred to the engineer for study Halsey's request that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority erect bus shelters on Route 5 at Dona and Odell streets, or share the cost with the city of erecting temporary shelters.

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