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The Boston Town Board revisits a Chestnut Lane barrier issue

The work on Chestnut Lane in Boston has been a recurring topic at town board meetings, during the past few months, and the issue was brought to the attention of the board again, when it convened on July 17.

Brian Burns, a Chestnut Lane resident, again addressed the board and some of his and his neighbors’ concerns.

Earlier this year, the town announced plans to build a wider turnaround at the end of the street, but residents’ anxieties convinced the board to put a stop to that project. However, Burns said that he believes some issues have yet to be properly addressed.

The local resident brought with him a petition signed by all except two of his neighbors, and said, “The neighbors all agree that, and all the undersigned people have signed here, due to the recent removal of trees and site work at the end of Chestnut Lane, I, the undersigned, believe that there is an immediate need for a permanent barrier, constructed guardrail or security fence of sort; not a berm. I believe there’s a safety concern now and there are no obstacles to prevent a serious incident, due to the removal of trees.”

Burns asked if the board has done any investigating into the removal of trees “that were unwarranted and probably not authorized.”

“Has there been any type of criminal or civil violation that has occurred during the removal of these trees illegally?” he asked.

The resident quoted a section of the town code that forbids individuals from cutting down trees on town property.

““[Highway Superintendent] Bob [Telaak] was cutting trees as himself on his own time, with his own equipment,” Burns said. “Therefore, he is represented as a person, in what I understand. So my question is, is there anything going to be done about him removing the trees?”

The resident added that someone has been dumping dirt in the cleared space, although he acknowledged that Telaak is not the individual who has been doing so. “But neighbors now feel it’s OK to dump stuff there, is my point,” Burns said. “The whole area is inviting.”

Supervisor Martin Ballowe said that the town has ordered reflective signs for the end of the road, to keep people out. “The neighbors there don’t want signs,” Burns said. “They want a permanent guardrail or structure put there.” Ballowe said that the signs would be permanent.

Burns also suggested that any cost incurred should be covered by Telaak, and not the taxpayers. “He’s the guy who started the whole thing,” the resident said. “I don’t think taxpayers should pay again for something he’s already created.”

Councilman Jay Boardway pointed out that Burns had the opportunity to buy the property, when it was up for auction, but Burns said that he “didn’t know it was going for auction.”

“We stopped the turnaround there at your request and the request of everybody who came in[to the last board meeting],” Ballowe said. “So we did stop the turnaround. We put in dirt, for the time being. We have to order things on top of what else he does. I understand the need for that. We put up a sign at the beginning of the street, as requested.”

Burns said that he was still concerned that “the road is unsafe, as it is.”

In another board matter, Jana Kurasz, an eight-year resident of Boston, addressed a concern regarding her location on Powerline Road, which is between Boston Cross Road and Boston Colden Road.

“I had moved from Amherst out to the town of Boston,” she said. “I bought a house within my means. I’ve invested well over $30,000 – $40,000, in the last eight years, taking out small interest loans [and] utilizing the grants that are provided to low-income families out here, to help their houses. I have taken a lot of pride in my house and my property.

“I understand that the new towers came through, because of the windmills and the generators,” she said. “I pay taxes like everybody else in this room does ... and I don’t feel that the 13 houses on that stretch of Powerline [are] really being listened to.”

Kurasz spoke about National Grid, which owns the road. “Boston Cross is a town road; Boston Colden is a county road,” she said. “They can’t land lock us ... so they can’t close down the road. But, with coming in and changing the structure towers, they went from a single ... tower to two stanchions. One they moved right in the middle of the road. It was within their easement, but the problem being is if there’s a fire at my house, they can’t get to it. There are no fire hydrants on our road. We pay town taxes. There are no lights on our road.”

Kurasz said that there is a legal street sign on the county end of the road, “so somebody somewhere at some point has acknowledged that we do exist, as a road.” She added that interaction with Erie County Legislator John Mills had amounted to “nothing.”

“I’m very familiar with your correspondence, in what you sent this past week,” Boardway said. “We are aware of the situation; we are aware of your concerns.”

The supervisor said that the board had been in executive session, earlier in the day, “and your issues were addressed. We got the town attorney to do a little investigation, to report back to the board as to what we can actually do. We acknowledge that you are taxpayers of the town, but you do live on a private road. And that is what the unique situation is.”

Kurasz said that she is asking the board to help request that National Grid drop 6 inches of stone, “to help us out; to put up safe guardrails.”

In other board matters:

– Genzel also reported about the first day of the summer recreation program, which he attended with a “record number of kids. Everything seemed to be running very smoothly and safely. I think [Recreation Director] Tony [Zeniuk]’s doing an excellent job with our rec department and I have heard no complaints from any of those children.”

– A public hearing for comments on the renewal of the fire protection contracts for Boston, Patchin and North Boston fire companies is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 7:40 p.m.

– Upon Ballowe’s recommendation, the board approved the appointment of Lori Valentine as an assistant nutrition program director part-time substitute. Valentine began on July 12.

– Upon Councilman Larry Murtha’s recommendation, the board approved Clovergreens Lawn Services’ bid of $26,800, to clean up approximately one-third of Eighteenmile Creek. The other two bids were from Eastwood Industries Inc. and All America.

– A license was approved for Boston Hills Home and Estates, after an on-site inspection by Code Enforcement Officer William Ferguson. “No violations of the Boston town code were present,” Ferguson reported.

The board’s next meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 21.
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