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Residents are due to get letters on lighting easements

Some Cheektowaga residents getting their solar and gas streetlights replaced with electric lights will be notified soon by the town.

Town Attorney Michael J. Stachowski said he will be sending a letter to about 300 residents about the easements that the town needs for the work. He then plans to invite groups of 40 to 50 residents to Town Hall for meetings to explain the easements.

Nearly four years ago, Cheektowaga planned to replace 498 gas-powered streetlights with solar-powered lights, under a contract signed with Johnson Controls. Some of the lights were replaced before the town halted the program because of residents' complaints.

Many residents said the solar fixtures were ugly and did not emit enough light. Then some of them began breaking, and some of the batteries could not collect enough sunlight to charge the lights last winter.

The attorney said the electric lights originally were estimated to cost about $2 million, but an agreement with Johnson Controls will allow the lights to be erected at no additional charge to residents.

"It all adds up to about the same as before," he said.

The town needs the easements to dig a trench to connect the wires to the main electric service in backyards, Stachowski said. When the work is finished, the land will be graded and seeded. All the new lines will be underground.

The town is seeking more easements than might actually be used, Stachowski said. "We identified every possible place it might be done," he said.

The contractor will determine where the easements are needed. Easements given by residents that are not used will not be filed and will be returned to the residents, Stachowski said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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