Patience is wearing thin for some Cheektowaga residents who live near a vacant, run-down Union Road plaza. About 10 neighbors of Garden Village Plaza took their concerns Monday night to the Town Board, which pledged that plans to develop the parcel owned by Benderson Development Co. are in the works.
“I just met with Benderson last week, and they are looking to develop that parcel,” said Town Supervisor Mary F. Holtz. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve been working on this for so long.”
One neighbor described the plaza as blighted by potholes, broken windows, rats and loitering children.
“We saw that plaza go from a vibrant plaza to nothing,” Martinique Drive resident Nancy Grzymala told the board. “We know that retail won’t last there, but we want something so we won’t have to look at those deplorable conditions every single day.”
Benderson acquired the 26.7-acre plaza, formerly home to various stores including a Vix drugstore, a Hills department store and an Ames store, in 2006 for just over $2 million.
Holtz said Benderson has submitted preliminary plans to the town and hopes to begin construction in spring 2015. She promised to set up a meeting between residents and the developer within a month so those plans could be reviewed.
“I definitely want them to meet with you,” she told the residents. “They do have plans. I can’t speak of them right now.”
There had been talk in recent years that Garden Village would be the new home of the Super Flea, which lost its Benderson-owned Walden Avenue location in May to make way for a new Walmart Supercenter. Holtz said that while that idea is no longer on the table, the developer has other plans for Garden Village.
“They made me a promise when they closed the Flea Market that they would develop Garden Village,” Holtz said. “They said, ‘We’re going to take care of two properties. We’re getting rid of the Flea Market and we’re going to do something with Garden Village.’ ”
In other business, the Town Board:
• Amended Cheektowaga’s year-old landlord licensing law to include single dwellings housing up to three families as part of a continuing effort to hold absentee landlords responsible for criminal or public nuisance activity on their properties. The law requires landlords to register with the town and provide contact information for the owner or property manager, as well as information about the tenants.
• Called for two public hearings at its next meeting July 7 to consider strengthening the town’s code enforcement by allowing town police officers to cite homeowners for violations. Currently, only code enforcement officers may do so.