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Storm damage prompts legal steps by residents

Town Board members and attorneys remained mum Monday night on the many details and costs but acknowledged that several residents have sought legal action in regard to storm damage.

Town Engineer Robert P. Lannon Jr. called the Dec. 1 storm "a climatic anomaly" with significant rain, which saturated the ground and offered no place for the water to go. He said the town had faced several drainage issues and complaints.

Councilman Sean A. Edwards pointed to a home in a low-lying area on Creek Road Extension, where the whole yard, front and back, and the driveway were washed out.

"It was a terrible storm. We need to get rolling [on repairs] as fast as possible," Edwards said.

Thousands of properties throughout Western New York were without power that Friday in December because of high winds. Rain and high water were a problem from Niagara County to Cattaraugus County.

Town Attorney Joseph L. Leone Jr. said three or four residents had filed notices of claim related to the storm and that he was unable to discuss the details of these cases or the amount of damages being sought.

"We could settle or they could sue and we could go to court," Leone said.

The board met in executive session for just over an hour to discuss cases and then reconvened into executive session after the meeting to continue litigation discussions.

In another matter, Cable Commission Chairman Daniel Kilmer said they are currently negotiating a new franchise with Time Warner and have heard from residents that the new company is "not the friendliest since they moved into the area."

Board members agreed with Kilmer's request to seek input from residents during negotiations.

Councilman Alfonso M. Bax said, "[Time Warner] is one of the only games in town, but we are looking for direction. We need to ask the public for more formal comment."

The board requested that any residents who wished to comment attend the Feb. 26 meeting and voice their concerns or send comments to Town Hall.

In another matter, the board voted to halt plans for a model home for Riverwalk Phase 2C.

Several residents said developer Joseph Deck has rejected original plans to put up buffer trees on his properties.

Town Supervisor Fred Newlin said the board was originally under the impression that property owners had already come to an agreement with Deck.

Councilman Ernest Palmer said, "It was clear to me the developer was required to meet certain criteria and failed to do so. We should wait until those criteria are met before we allow him to build a model home."

Bax agreed, "It's unfortunate that [the neighbors] have had to do a lot of legwork, but this board supports you, and we will send word to developers that we will support the neighbors."

Pletcher Road resident Kevin Meyers said, "We didn't get much of what we asked for, but we were never that unreasonable. This is a small town, and I think we have always put some value on the historical beauty of a rural area."


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