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Northridge residents seek completion of condo project

Several Northridge Drive residents appealed to the Town Board on Monday to push a developer to complete an abandoned condominium project, adjacent to their properties, that remains an eyesore.

But board members said their hands are tied.

The project, on newly built Legacy Drive, started several years ago with plans to construct two eight-unit condominiums, but lawsuits involving the developer have prevented him from getting clear title to Legacy.

"Without getting clear title to the road, the town can't get title insurance for the road," Town Attorney Michael J. Dowd said. "So until the contractor is able to clear the title issues, the town can't take it for dedication, and without a dedicated road, we can't issue certificates of occupancy.

"There's really nothing we can do right now," Dowd added. "It a terrible shame that it's gotten to this point, but I don't see any immediate resolution to this problem."

Mary J. Lodico, of Northridge, said that as the controversy continues, "weeds are growing, the buildings remain unfinished and the property appears derelict and abandoned by the owner."

She said that she worries about her own property value as she faces a "sea of ugly blue tarps" on many of the apartment roofs and noted that the entire complex had deteriorated, with the access road, Legacy, dotted with potholes and temporary patch.

A neighbor on Northridge, Ed Chicago, said all-terrain vehicles periodically use the road for "fun."

Supervisor Steven L. Reiter and Dowd agreed that they could not enforce traffic rules on land the town doesn't own, but Dowd said they could ask police to be on the alert for any problems that may affect nearby residents.

Dowd said that he has been in touch with the owner at least once a month but that the project will have to remain derelict until the legal issues are resolved. Until then, he said, the town will have to address problems through the building inspector.

Building Inspector Timothy R. Masters said he cited the owner a month ago for the blue tarps, asking that they be removed, but has to wait for a court date to proceed further. He said that he previously cited the owner for not cutting grass and that it was cut once during the season.

In another matter, Reiter said he met last week with Mark W. Thomas, Western District director of state parks, to discuss a lease agreement for Joseph Davis State Park, which the state has closed.

"This is an excellent opportunity to take a piece of property that has for a long time basically been abandoned and neglected," Reiter said. "This is an opportunity for a real use of the Greenway funds."

Reiter asked the town attorney to look at the agreement, and approval was given by the Town Board to go forward with talks. He said that the agreement would be available for public view and that he would be talking with other groups that would be affected by an agreement, including the Audubon Society, the Niagara River Anglers and disk golfers who use the park.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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