Neighbors' opposition to a private fireworks display prompted the Clarence Town Board to deny a permit request Tuesday, despite its approval of two other requests to set off fireworks next month.
Dan Snyder had planned to set off fireworks during a July 4 celebration at his property on Newhouse Road, as he has done in previous summers. Eleven friends and relatives of Snyder spoke at the Town Board meeting in support of the display, calling it "tasteful" and "discreet."
However, neighbor Carole Landreville opposed the request, saying "copious amounts of smoke" from the display would be detrimental to the health of the horses she has on her property.
"Please, you must not let my horses be put through such a traumatic event again this year," she told the board. "The chances of them being hurt over this and overcome with smoke is highly likely. The smoke and explosions are big issues."
A letter from Landreville's veterinarian indicated that Snyder's display would put her horses "with compromised immune systems in jeopardy and could be disastrous."
A petition with 33 signatures against the fireworks was called into question.
Snyder's attorney, Dave Saleh, said that to his knowledge, the permit request met all of the necessary setback requirements.
Alternative solutions had been offered to Landreville, he said, such as Synder's paying to have her horses temporarily moved during the fireworks display.
But Landreville told the board she would not move her horse because of her back problems.
"I just don't believe this is about the horses," Saleh said, regarding her complaints.
Tyler Husted, Snyder's niece, has been attending her uncle's July 4 celebrations for several years and said losing the fireworks display would mean losing an "enjoyable" tradition.
She along with several others said the smoke never affected them or others at the party.
"The people attending the get-together range from small babies to older people, and people even bring their dogs," Husted said. "I've never heard anyone complain about the smoke or the noise, and I've never seen any movement or news from the horses next door."
Concerns about Landreville's "right to farm" under local laws also were raised as a factor in the disagreement.
Councilman Joseph Weiss said it was "almost abnormal" such permits have been granted in the past. He was clear about his feelings on Snyder's request, given the complaints and documentation.
"We've got 33 people who live in the neighborhood and maybe 15 people at a party," Weiss said. "I'm going to vote for the neighborhood."
The two approved fireworks-display permits went to Brookfield Country Club, one for July 4 and the other for July 10.
After the board's decisions, some audience members shouted, "Double standard," as they left the meeting.