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Thread: Cheektowaga takes new action against dilapidated buildings

  1. #1
    Member OneEmerald's Avatar
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    Cheektowaga takes new action against dilapidated buildings

    Cheektowaga takes new action against dilapidated buildings
    By Barbara O’Brien NEWS STAFF REPORTER
    Updated: 04/17/07 7:16 AM

    Cheektowaga took another step Monday night toward demolishing some of the town’s worst vacant properties.

    Town Board members set up a special account to be used solely for building demolition and transferred $120,000 into it. The town had some extra money because it has received more money than expected from building permits.

    “We have already started the process,” said Council Member Alice Magierski. “Our Housing Department and our code enforcement officer have identified at least 15 to 16 properties within the town that are candidates to be demolished.”

    The town also knows the first three structures it wants to tear down, and they have been vacant for five, seven and 10z years, she said. The homes are on Barbara and Wellworth places and Windwood Court, said Thomas Adamczak, supervisor of building inspectors.

    The board passed a local law in December making it easier for the town to demolish vacant buildings that have become a nuisance. Now that the demolition fund has been set up, the town can pay for title searches to the properties, which should be done next month, Adamczak said. The owner will be notified, and public hearings will be held.

    The buildings will be checked for asbestos, and bids for demolition will be sought.

    “We don’t know if there is asbestos. If there is none, the cost will be smaller,” he said.

    The cost of demolition will be put on the tax bill of the property owner. If the owner does not pay the taxes, the bill is turned over to Erie County, which pays the taxes to the town, and the money would be redeposited in the demolition fund. The county then tries to collect the money from the property owner.

    Adamczak said the three buildings would be down this year.

    “Any way you can get those down — it’s important,” said Debbie Kubiak of Cedargrove Heights, who went to Albany in March with another resident seeking state help in ridding the town of vacant buildings.

    Town officials said they are meeting with the director of Erie County real property tax services to discuss the problem and are seeking grants to add to the demolition fund.

    “Vacant lots don’t help the Town of Cheektowaga,” Supervisor James J. Jankowiak said. “I’m hesitant to just start knocking down houses until we have a plan.”

    Also Monday night, the board waived the $200 administration fee for three taxpayers who bought property and were assessed charges for cleanups done by the town on the property under the former owners. The cost of the cleanups was not waived.

    “The individuals who purchased the properties had no way of knowing by public record that we had assessed against these properties substantial cleanup charges,” Council Member Jeff Swiatek said. “This was a very unique set of circumstances, and we are taking steps to make sure it does not recur.”

    The town now assesses a lien against the property when it does a cleanup, which becomes a matter of public record, he said.

    http://www.buffalonews.com/105/story/55794.html
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    Member OneEmerald's Avatar
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    The above article was from last night's town board meeting. There was also a discussion about the vacant plaza at Union and French. We were told that Benderson Developement owns the property and plans to demolish the buildings. They are looking for a new tenant before they rebuild.

    WNYresident, you should have been at the meeting. They talked extensivley about the solar lights and the new electric replacements.
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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Good news, One Emerald! I like the idea that the town's going to return the tax money it gets from the county to the demolition fund.

    The county will put the empty lots up for tax auction. Depending on where the lots are located and their sizes, they might be candidates for residential infill new builds -- or for neighbors to buy. When I lived in suburban Albany, my town had a lot of that going on.
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    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    “Vacant lots don’t help the Town of Cheektowaga,” Supervisor James J. Jankowiak said. “I’m hesitant to just start knocking down houses until we have a plan.”
    What is wrong with green space? Knock them down and plant grass....

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    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Green space beats the hell out of abandoned buildings!

    Maybe somebody should take Jankowiak on a tour of Buffalo's East Side so he can see what happens if you sit on your butt waiting for a "plan". That should be a lesson enough in the stupidity of procrastination even for politicians.
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    Councilman Tom Johnson told me that there are 560+ vacant houses in Cheektowaga... I think that they will need a few million to clear them out. Of course they are building new houses/patio homes in South Cheektowaga, so the number of vacants may increase....

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    Member OneEmerald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNYresident
    What is wrong with green space? Knock them down and plant grass....
    For now, when they knock them down they have to plant grass. The town can not rebuild because they will not own the lot.
    Councilman Tom Johnson told me that there are 560+ vacant houses in Cheektowaga... I think that they will need a few million to clear them out. Of course they are building new houses/patio homes in South Cheektowaga, so the number of vacants may increase
    Most of those 560 vacant houses are not in a condition for demolition. Most are bank forclosures and there is nothing wrong with them.
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    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    So basically we are letting new builds happen while we allow others to slowly be abandoned.. Cheektowaga really doesn't have a housing shortage does it. Plus is the town growing? Is that why they are building more houses?

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    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    For the developers who are active in the town are they also very active political "donation" contributors?

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    Arrow Developers benefit twice

    Quote Originally Posted by WNYresident
    For the developers who are active in the town are they also very active political "donation" contributors?

    First , one only has to go to the Board of Elections(On Eagle Street Buffalo) or any Political Fundraiser to see how much the Developers put into the Campaign Funds.

    -Now ,for Developers Profits.
    If a house has unpaid liens against it and its in a bad state of disrepair - If you or a Developer buys this house you have to pay the asking price + plus any tax liens and other fee's- The house might cost to much when you add the cost of Liens , repairs , and asking price. Not enough resale value .

    -Then you speak with your well connected Local Politicians (Like what just happened in Cheektowaga) and they agree that they will "Forgive" the taxes/code violations and clean up costs incurred by the past owner. Now lets say you have the same lot - vacant (house removed-no liens)


    -Add in the fact that the lot is what has the lasting/rollover value - then you build and sell a new home on the "Empty Lot" you purchased for Penny's on the dollar. The land is whats sells at a premium in these "Built Out Areas."

    -How many average income people could have persuaded the Local Politicians to forgive the taxes and fines owed ? How many average people could afford to buy - tare down - and build a new home in these areas.

    Think of it this way - The Town/Government/Tax Payer pays to rip these houses down. Then the Developers swoop in and save the neighborhood from these "Eye soars"
    #Dems play musical chairs + patronage and nepotism = entitlement !

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    Quote Originally Posted by OneEmerald
    For now, when they knock them down they have to plant grass. The town can not rebuild because they will not own the lot.

    Most of those 560 vacant houses are not in a condition for demolition. Most are bank forclosures and there is nothing wrong with them.
    So how many of the 560 vacant houses in Cheektowaga do you think are in need of demolition? How much does each demo cost? I don't think $120,000 will be enough to remove all the dilapidated houses that are located in Cheektowaga.

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