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Elma tackling abandoned properties

Is Elma turning into “Zombieland?”

Town officials have heard complaints from residents at recent Town Board meetings wondering what is being done about several empty and deteriorating houses, including four on Bowen Road, between Borden Road and town hall.

Supervisor Dennis Powers noted that many of the properties are in foreclosure, so the town has to wait for the legal owners – banks – to reach a resolution.

Hoping to put pressure on the banks, the town is pointing residents toward Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns, D-Buffalo, who is championing a “Community Campaign to Combat Zombie Properties.”

The campaign, which Kearns said is becoming an effective tool in resolving such situations, targets lenders who fail to follow through and take legal ownership in the foreclosure process.

Kearns reports he has received more than 2,000 complaints about properties that appear to sit in perpetual foreclosure.

Residents who want to file a complaint on a similar home can find a consent form at that allows Kearns to submit a complaint to the state Department of Financial Services regarding a foreclosed home.