Members of the North Olean Neighborhood Organized Watch Tuesday night renewed appeals to the Olean Common Council to take action against a North Union Street business they claim is operating a contractor's yard in violation of city codes for the commercial zone.
The business, First Class Siding, is in the 1300 block of North Union and parks its trucks in a lot across the street owned by Jay and Linda Flederbach. It has been the subject of residents' past complaints about debris and other problems and was recently investigated by the city code enforcement office.
Four members of the watch group replied during the public comment portion of the meeting to a Sept. 5 letter from Code Enforcement Officer Chris Young, which was read aloud by Ward 7 Alderman Richard Fay. Young's letter stated the business is not in violation except for "some sporadic accounts of debris buildup, which will be managed when it occurs."
Young accused the watch group and 264 North Olean residents who signed a petition in August of mounting a "personal crusade to run this operation out of their area." He called the business a retail operation, which parks vehicles in Flederbach's private lot.
The residents, however, told the councilmen the situation poses a danger and is a blemish on the neighborhood occupied by many generations of families.
John Simon, a resident, said the weight of the trucks is breaking up the sidewalk as the vehicles enter and exit the lot, and a structure erected near the sidewalk obstructs the view of pedestrians and vehicles.
Council President James Griffin said reorganization of the Parks and Recreation Department may help resolve the issue when a new position is created that is intended to help organize communities.
"(That employee) will get representatives together to share with the government," he said.
Fire Chief John W. Gibbons, who oversees code enforcement, said the company is "storing equipment there. It's legal."
But Fay said he doesn't consider the matter resolved.
"I agree with the Neighborhood Organized Watch program completely," Fay said. "I think they are right and Codes is in error. Chris Young is biased against the Organized Watch in general and the North Olean Organized Neighborhood Watch in particular."