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Blasdell eyesore property under scrutiny

BLASDELL— A dilapidated home in Blasdell drew the attention and discussion of a village resident and various officials, during the village board’s Sept. 18 meeting. The property, located at 34 Lake Ave., was said to have been a neighborhood eyesore for the past three years.

Laura Errington said that her family’s Lake Avenue home is two doors down from the structure, which was deemed unsafe in late summer 2010, per the Blasdell village code.

Errington said that the unattended property has holes in the roof, an overgrown yard and various animals’ frequenting the area. She added that her various calls to the county’s health department have not led to solutions, due to responses indicating that a property with no owner present to admit health officials could not be tended to further.

A snag, as part of the process moving forward, is Blasdell’s finding funds to conduct a demolition of the vacant structure, a process that is said to require exorbitant monies, per the board. Village Clerk Administrator Janet Plarr said that the village must pay for the demolition of such properties; doing so, in the case of 34 Lake Ave., would have to account for various prohibitive safety measures inside the building.

High bid costs were determined to be attached to the process, thus far. Village Trustee Matt Chandler echoed the sentiment of some Blasdell officials, regarding these structures.

“The board certainly appreciates the position of Mrs. Errington and all of the residents who would like to see abandoned properties razed,” Chandler said. “But the reality is, we don’t have the money to foot the bill for the demolitions and, if we started pulling tens of thousands of dollars out of the budget to pay for these, I don’t suspect the taxpayers would be very happy.”

The trustee added that the issue of abandoned properties is one that hampers several other municipalities across the region. “The city of Buffalo has thousands of these properties, but it’s a problem that [also] reaches Cheektowaga, West Seneca [and] even Amherst,” Chandler added.

Blasdell Deputy Mayor Lou McDonald said that he had has sought the services of the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation, which is part of the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning and “supports municipal and regional revitalization efforts by acquiring, improving and selling distressed, vacant, abandoned and/or tax-delinquent properties.” The location has a large amount of back taxes.

McDonald said that village officials will continue to address the issue.

Errington thanked the board for granting her family a permit last May, to allow the Erringtons to raise and house six chickens at their property. The permit, valid until Nov. 15, is “non-precedent setting” in nature. The Erringtons’ approved plan, last spring, had included the construction and maintenance of a raised coop, along with waste disposal.

In other meeting action:

– Board Trustee Kathy Seufert King noted the presence of coyotes in the village, primarily the areas of Martin and LaBelle avenues, as well as Electric Avenue and in Firemen’s Park. Seufert King said that she contacted the state department of environmental conservation, regarding the matter.

– McDonald said that the fourth “Blasdell Books” kiosk has been placed within the village, at Lake and LaBelle avenues. She said that the program of using and returning books in a makeshift library setting has been well received by village residents.

– A benefit for the family of a late Blasdell resident, Larry Wells, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the American Legion Matthew Glab Post 1477 in Lackawanna, located at 1965 Abbott Road. The event will run from 5 – 10 p.m. and include dinner, beverages and dessert, as well as auctions and raffles. Wells was murdered June 29 at the Toys ‘R’ Us location in Hamburg, in a case that is still ongoing. Wells was an assistant manager at the store and a resident of Arthur Avenue; proceeds will assist Wells’ wife, 4-year-old daughter and unborn child.

For more information about the event, call Sandy at 310-9453, Michelle at 783-9033 or Pam at 880-9305. Donations may be mailed to: “Friends of Laurence Wells,” P.O. Box 4205, Buffalo, NY 14217.

The next Blasdell Village Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
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