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RESIDENTS WIN WILMUTH AVENUE ZONING BATTLE

The voice of the First Ward was heard Thursday by the Lackawanna City Council, which turned down proposed industrial/commercial zoning behind new Wilmuth Avenue homes and passed a new zoning code designating the area "residential."

The measure passed by a 3-2 vote, and two of the councilmen who voted for it cautioned later that it would not survive a veto by Mayor John J. Kuryak. It would take four votes to override a veto.

First Ward residents also persuaded the three Council members to upgrade the western end of Ridge Road, the entrance to the city, from industrial to commercial and to kill a proposal to zone a popular soccer field industrial.

New homeowners and mostly minority-group members, the First Warders in Council chambers were jubilant as their cause was supported by Council President Norman Polanski Jr., 3rd Ward Councilman Gerald DePasquale and 1st Ward Councilman Ricardo Estrada.

"If the mayor wants, he can veto the ordinance," said Polanski.

Residents who live near the area east of Route 5 were loud in insisting that the proposed industrial-commercial uses would hurt their quality of life.

Barbara Peoples, who moved back to Lackawanna from Buffalo, said new subsidized industries in the current industrial park areas do not provide jobs for residents.

Jimmie Royster Jr. and others said that they never were consulted and that the proposals were drawn up by a panel that did not represent them.

"You're deciding to make these choices for us," said Royster. "You didn't come to the citizens."

A county representative, Christopher Pawlenski, said the county pledged $700,000 toward infrastructure off Route 5 in the belief it would be used for industrial development.

Another measure passed by three votes, but still vulnerable to veto, designates the area north of the west end of Ridge Road commercial, with restrictions prohibiting used-car lots, truck stops, storage yards, marine storage, outside storage and billboards.

e-mail: mhammersley@buffnews.com

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