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GROUP SUING DEVELOPER, 2 TOWN BOARDS

A residents' group is suing the planning and town boards and the developer of a controversial subdivision on the grounds they failed to follow proscribed environmental procedures.

"We feel that the law has not been covered," said Gerda W. Swensson of Hillside Drive in the Four Seasons subdivision. She said the state Environmental Quality Review Act has not been followed for the Cliff Road project on the Niagara Escarpment, and members of the Lewiston 1 Fire Department have not yet approved the plan.

"There are many, many people who object to it," said Mrs. Swensson.

She said her group, Save the Environment and Escarpment Panorama, has collected 660 signatures on petitions opposing the project, mostly from residents of the town or village.

She said the group is not seeking any any money from the developer, Joseph A. Deck & Sons.

"What we hope to do is see that the law is enforced," Mrs. Swensson said.

In a petition filed in State Supreme Court on July 7, Save the Environment and Escarpment Panorama alleges the town and planning boards and JAD & Sons Enterprises Inc. of Buffalo wronged towns residents in six ways:

Lewiston town and planning boards violated lawful procedures by allowing the subdivision.

The Town Board acted "in excess of jurisdiction" by giving preliminary and final approval of the plan in June.

The Town Board did not send the matter to the county Planning Board for review before taking final action.

The Town Board failed to comply with state Environmental Quality Review procedures by not completing a full Environmental Assessment Form.

The Town Board failed to comply with its own master plan.

Councilman Michael A. Johnson is employed by Stovroff & Potter, which is under contract with JAD & Son Enterprises Inc. to sell lots in the adjacent Oak Hill Subdivision.

Deck Tuesday said he knew nothing about the lawsuit.

"I think the town has followed proper procedures, that's in my opinion," he said. "We've done everything the town asked us to do."

On June 7, the Town Board approved preliminary plans for the first three phases of the project and gave final approval for the first phase to begin.

Town representatives have to appear at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 8 in the Niagara County Courthouse, 777 Third St., Niagara Falls, to respond to the complaints.

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