BOSTON — The work on Chestnut Lane in Boston has been a recurring topic at town board meetings, during the last couple of months, and the issue was brought to the attention of the board again, when it convened for its meeting on July 17.
Brian Burns, a resident of Chestnut Lane, took the opportunity to bring to the board some of his and his neighbors’ concerns. Earlier this year, the town was prepared to build a wider turnaround, at the end of the street, but the anxieties of the residents convinced the board to put a stop to that project. However, Burns said that some issues have yet to be addressed.
Burns brought with him a petition signed by all but 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.
“Has there been any investigation about the removal of trees, that were unwarranted and probably not authorized? And, if there has been, has there been any type of criminal or civil violation that has occurred, during the removal of these trees illegally?”
Burns quoted a section of the town code, that forbids any person from cutting down trees on town property. “[Highway Superintendent] Bob [Telaak] was cutting trees, as himself, on his own time, with his own equipment,” he noted. “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?”
Burns also 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. “Neighbors now feel it’s OK to dump stuff there,” said Burns. “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 responded. “They want a permanent guardrail or structure put there.”
Ballowe insisted that the signs would be permanent.
Burns also suggested that any cost incurred should be covered by Telaak.
“He’s the guy who started the whole thing. 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 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.”
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. 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’ve put many man hours into it, even with my bad hands and my other health issues. My problem being is, I understand that the new towers came through because of the windmills and the generators. Well, I pay taxes, like everybody else in this room does, and I don’t want to sound ‘old school,’ but I do pay my taxes; they’re on time, and I don’t feel that the 13 houses on that stretch of Powerline [are] really being listened to,” she explained.
“National Grid owns the road. Boston Cross is a town road; Boston Colden is a county road. They can’t landlock 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. We pay town taxes.
“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,” Kurasz said.
She added that communication with Erie County Legislator John Mills 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. This board was actually in an executive session earlier today, 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 town board to “help us, as town residents, to ask for National Grid to drop six inches of stone, to put up safe guardrails.”
In other board matters:
– “The July 4 fireworks display was a huge success,” said Councilman Jeff Genzel. “We’d like to thank our Boston Town Band, for their incredible performance. We’d also like to thank the Patchin Fire Company, for providing standby, so that no emergencies happened, and also the North Boston Fire Company and Boston Fire Company, for providing traffic control, after the event. It was very helpful and we thank them.”
– Genzel also reported on the first day of the summer recreation program, which he said was attended by a “record number of kids.
“Everything seemed to be running very smoothly and safely. I think [Recreation Director] Tony [Zeniuk is] doing an excellent job with our rec department, and I have heard no complaints from any of those children.”
– Genzel commented on a recent editorial, by Boston Fire Company President Russ Metcalf:
“I’d like to address the editorial from Mr. Metcalf on July 4. Metcalf states, ‘The elimination of the Patchin Fire Company seems to be the focus of several individuals on the town board and in the fire service.’ I can assure you folks, I have no intention of closing the Patchin Fire Company or any other fire company, for that matter. My father’s been a fireman for 45 years, much longer than Mr. Metcalf has even lived in town. With this statement, I believe Russ Metcalf has a personal political agenda and I question whether he can negotiate, in good faith, on behalf of the Boston Fire Company. Creating false, misleading statements is only hindering the negotiation process and jeopardizing our fire protection,” Genzel said. “He has chosen not to take the recommendations of the study, based on his editorial. I believe, if Mr. Metcalf could work in a positive, forward direction, instead of dwelling on the past, the town citizens will continue to have the superior fire protection, for years to come.”
– A public hearing to hear comments on the renewal of the fire protection contracts for Boston, Patchin and North Boston Fire Companies was scheduled for Wednesday, August 21 at 7:40 p.m.
– Upon the recommendation of Ballowe, the board approved the appointment of Lori Valentine as an assistant nutrition program director part-time substitute. She began on July 12.
– On 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., at $48,800, and All America, at $138,200.
– 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,” he reported.
The board will reconvene next month on Wednesday, August 21 at 7:30 p.m. That meeting will be held at the Boston Town Hall, which is located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston.