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Residents don’t want Dixon Drive disturbed, crematory still struggling with relocating

TONAWANDA - Residents of the town addressed the board again the week with their concerns regarding the purchase of the house at 52 Dixon Drive, Town of Tonawanda, and its potential use as a Respite home. In addition, residents spoke their minds about the relocation of Amigone Crematory, which is expected to relocate to 55 Cooper Ave.

Those who live in the area on or around Dixon Drive noted they were not trying to be disrespectful to those individuals who are developmentally disabled when they spoke at last weeks board meeting. Their concerns were intended to focus on the 24/7 operations that are expected to be conducted and ultimately interrupt their quiet neighborhood.

Carolyn Passman, 33 Dixon Drive, compared the inconvenience to living close to a bar and stated she does not want to live near a 24/7 operation.

James Shirley, 30 Dixon Drive, felt the organization purchased this home quickly, so they could do it without considering the concerns of the residents. He expressed he, too, did not want the home in his neighborhood.

Although the town has contacted the organization and has similar concerns regarding the use of the Respite home, they stated to the residents that the organization is within their rights to use this home for what they want. They do not have to choose a location outside of the neighborhood.

As of now, the home has been sold and the organization will move forward with renovations and the use of the home to aid developmentally disabled children.

“They aren’t legally classified as a business. They fall under the mental hygiene law,” said Town Attorney John Flynn, as he responded to residents who don’t want this home in their neighborhood.

He went on to say that the town has filed their objections and made suggestions for the organization to use other locations in the town, but the organization was not interested in using those locations.

Residents who live in a close proximity to Cooper Avenue recently met with Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick to express their concerns regarding Amigone Crematory potentially relocating in that area.

Although the area is performance zoned, the new location is close to residential housing.

Residents and representatives who spoke on behalf of this matter would prefer the crematory to be classified as a cemetery, so that Amigone has to follow the guidelines of a cemetery.

Ultimately, the decision is up to the Erie County Legislature. In order for the relocation to take place, the county has to grant his first permit and then the State Cemetery Board has to sign off on the final steps of the process.

Residents who live on Two Mile Creek, near Cooper Avenue, do not mind if Amigone relocates in the town. However, the specific location he is looking into is extremely close to a neighborhood and they would prefer it be placed further away.

So, rather than eliminate the problem residents have been dealing with for almost 20 years and removing the crematory, the new plan is just to put it elsewhere in the town.

Councilman John Bargnesi was sympathetic to the concerns of the residents, however, there was not much he or the board could do to alleviate either of these concerns.

He encouraged residents to attend the Erie County Legislature hearing Nov. 7 at the former city hall building in Buffalo, and express their opinions to those legislators who will be voting on this matter. They will be determining whether or not to give Amigone the first permit in order to classify the crematory as a cemetery.

“Finding a location for him in the town, and within the performance zone, was a little tricky,” said Bargnesi.

Cooper Avenue is zoned in the town as a performance zone and because he wanted a small building there weren’t too many locations to choose from.

“Theses two issues, even though they are different issues, are very similar,” said Bargnesi. “These are two businesses that are causing residents to be concerned about them being in their neighborhoods. But, as long as they are in their rights and following the guidelines - there isn’t much we can do.”

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