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Zombie property in Cheektowaga eyed for demolition

Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski's attention to zombie houses resulted in the town conducting its first public hearing of the year on demolition of problem properties.

The hearing last week targeted a deteriorating house on 17 Yvette Drive just off French Road that has a history of complaints dating to August 2013 and ranging from high grass to ramshackle gutters, according to Cheektowaga Housing & Neighborhood Preservation records.

But before a demolition can be ordered – at a cost of at least $25,000 assessed against the property – an asbestos survey must be undertaken followed by abatement if necessary, noted Benczkowski.

In 2014, the gutters at 17 Yvette were restored with the cost assessed to the property. That cost and the property taxes were paid in 2015, according to Erie County tax records. In 2016, however, the same Yvette address was listed in the Town Board's work session for seven meetings with no action taken, said Matt Janiszewski, a Benczkowski aide.

The reappointment of part-time Town Counsel Kevin Schenk, who has extensive background in the foreclosure and demolition process, and the appointment of Council Member Linda Hammer as chairwoman of the Building Inspections & Housing Committee bolstered the town's plan to clean up zombie houses, said Benczkowski.




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