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Vacant buildings face demolition

Properties in the Town of Tonawanda that once housed employees of World War II-related industries are facing demolition.

Monday night, the Town Board held separate public hearings on four properties: an apartment house at 20-26 Whittier Place; a three-unit building at 58-64 Burnett Place; and single-family homes at 28 and 32 Browning Ave.

All are located within Sheridan Parkside Village Courts, whose multi-family residences housed those who worked at Curtiss-Wright Corp., General Motors and the Linde Division of Union Carbide Corp. during World War II.

"They have all been vacant for a long time," said Carl Heimiller, the town's supervising code enforcement officer. "The concern is they're becoming targets for vandalism."

As money from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development becomes available, the structures would be demolished and replaced with new single-family homes. Demolition costs would be assessed to the owners of record.

Heimiller said the structure at 58-64 Burnett Place was bought, sight unseen, by a California investor named Mark Yamamoto. According to public records, it sold for $45,000 in 2006.

The Whittier Place property is owned by Erma Reitmeier, whose last known address was that location; Steve and Tracy Zarbo, who reportedly live locally, own the Browning Avenue homes.

Following each of the public hearings, the Town Board voted unanimously that each property violated the Town Code section related to unsafe buildings, opening the door to their repair or removal.


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