Weekly Feature

2018-07-11 / Local News

Greenleaf residents air grievances about new neighbor

by ALAN RIZZO Editor

Residents of Greenleaf Avenue and Fries Road pressed the Tonawanda Town Board on Monday to take action against a new property owner in their neighborhood, who they said is planning to split his large corner lot and build a second home, a prospect they feel will be too close for comfort.

A longtime resident of 148 Greenleaf, who lives next door to the corner lot in question, argued that building another house there would create unwanted crowding and congestion.

“Just because you can do something, I don’t know that it’s appropriate to do something,” she said, arguing that the recently purchased property near Yorkshire Road should stay as advertised: a split level with a large backyard. “That’s why we all bought those homes, and it adds a great deal to the appeal of being there.”

Her neighbor, a resident of Fries Road, said the new owner’s tree clearing activities have already encroached on her yard and pool, and threatened the safety of her family.

“I told them, ‘We’re in the pool; please be careful,’ and next thing I know the tree is coming at us,” she said. “As soon as we called the police, all of the men who were taking the trees down ran into their truck and took off.”

Councilman John Bargnesi noted that there are distance requirements and building codes that the new owner must comply with, and no exceptions will be made.

“They’re still going to have to meet side setbacks, roof setbacks,” he said. “It’s going to have to fit.”

But he also said the new owner’s plans are not uncommon in the town, with property values on the rise.

“If you’ve gone around the town, this is happening quite often,” he said. “Any available land is being scooped up for new builds. We have two on [Moore Avenue] that I think need a variance.”

Supervisor Joseph Emminger said due to the lot’s large size, there is only so much the town can do to regulate construction, but he promised that a public hearing would be held before any plan for the new build is considered.

In another matter, the board appointed Thomas Duncan to the post of supervising code enforcement officer. Duncan, who currently serves the town as a senior code enforcement officer, will earn an annual salary of approximately $93,000. He replaces Carl Heimiller, who retired June 30.

The board also approved a $250,000 state grant, which will fund restoration of staircases at the municipal building, allow for the purchase of a sign for the Kenilworth Library, and for the purchase of playground equipment.

Emminger thanked Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and state Sen. Chris Jacobs, who both secured additional funding for the improvements.

Additionally, Emminger declared July Garden Month for a second year in the town, honoring members of the Kenmore and Ken-Sheriton garden clubs with certificates for their work in beautifying Tonawanda, running gardening programs for residents and assisting with the town’s tree-planting program.

The next Tonawanda Town Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, July 30, in the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave.

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