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COMPLAINTS SAY TOWN LAGS ON PROVIDING ACCESS

Two West Seneca residents have filed complaints alleging the town has failed to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act despite extensive efforts to get it to do so. The Independent Living Center, a disability rights advocacy organization, supports the complaints filed with the U.S. Justice Department.

"We feel the town has been foot-dragging and taking half-way measures," Douglas J. Usiak, executive director of the center, said Tuesday of the complaints, which involve a stairway and handicapped-parking in the Town Hall lot.

Supervisor Paul Clark said he takes "grave exception" to the remarks and the town has been working with both residents and plans to have both situations resolved before winter. He said the town has a good record on accessibility issues and has diverted funds intended for other projects.

Joseph Kawczynski has filed a complaint on behalf of his son, Joseph III, who uses a wheelchair. He says there should be a wheelchair ramp adjacent to stairs leading from Westgate Boulevard to Michael Road.

Town officials met with the Kawczynskis on Oct. 2 and Clark said Tuesday the town has decided it would be too expensive to install a ramp and the stairs are a safety hazard and should be removed.

"Kids are going up the hill on their bikes and using it as a launching ramp," Clark said. "Now that it's been brought to our attention, we plan to remove the stairs and ask the county to install a guard rail at the top."

The other complaint is by John Reynolds on behalf of his wife, Mary, and others who qualify for reserved parking permits.

Reynolds said that over the last six years he has had discussions with the town over his contention that the reserved spaces are not properly marked as to be legally enforceable.

Clark said the law is not clear on some of the requirements concerning parking but the town has received clarification and plans to have all requirements met this year.

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