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Chautauqua Town hears code complaints

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon Chautauqua town residents are upset that this asphalt pile remains on Route 394 after being told last year that the pile would be removed.

Chautauqua town officials are busy addressing a number of code violations.

During the Chautauqua Town Board meeting, residents complained that an asphalt pile on Route 394 continues to remain after residents voiced complaints a year ago.

Supervisor Don Emhardt said the pile started after the state dumped millings there. The owner of the property was told last year to remove the millings by the end of the year, but that hasn’t happened. “One pile left, but another showed up,” he said.

To make things more difficult, the original owner has passed away.

“We keep beating our heads against the wall every day with this stuff. We can’t get any backup ourselves from the Sheriff’s Department, from the State Police, from anybody. We take it to court. They have 90 days to clean it up. Nobody goes after them after 90 days to clean it up,” Emhardt said, as his voice grew louder. “It’s just as frustrating for us as it is for everybody in this room.”

Town Councilman Al Akin said they have to wait until the ownership of the property is settled, since the original owner passed away.

Town attorney Joel Seachrist said code problems take a while but improvements can happen.

He noted how the town is working with the owners of two properties – one on Stockton-Hartfield Road and the other on Fisherman’s Lane in Dewittville – because their properties are unsafe.

For the Stockton-Hartfield Road property, Ken Shearer with the town’s code enforcement office, said the owner was provided a letter over the summer that he must clean up the property or the town will do it.

During the September meeting, Shearer said some progress has been made, but there are still issues with the property.

The owner was at the meeting and said he is doing his best to make the necessary repairs. He argued that some of the violations shouldn’t apply.

Town officials told him that his property has been in violation for many years and he needs to finish cleaning it up. He was told to meet with Shearer to discuss the issue outside of the board meeting and then finish the work by the end of October.

For the Fisherman’s Lane property, Shearer said all the owner there has done is mow the lawn.

The town board called for an executive session to meet with Shearer and Seachrist to discuss what the next step would be.

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