Gary Howell’s exposes on construction quality deficiencies attributed to poor development practices further substantiates claims made by coalition and resident groups that the town of Lancaster favors developer best interests over that of its residents.

For the past several years, residents have appeared before the Town, Planning, and Zoning Boards voicing concerns about development and/or environmental issues, and their comments / appeals were either denied or ignored by the present town administrators.

It took residents several years to get the Town to admit there was a low water pressure issue that not only impacted their usage volume, but which also affected their families personal safety should a fire occur in their homes. Now, the present administration attempts to take credit for the construction of the new pumping station.

At the last Board meeting, several residents presented information concerning collapsing and deteriorating drop inlets (sewer receivers) throughout the town; especially in the newer developments. The residents suggested using pre-cast inlets to counter the erosion and sinking problems currently experienced with the presently used process. The Board accepted the suggested and when approving the resolution added a condition that pre-cast inlets would be used.

Why has it been necessary for residents to bring forth such issues and then suggest corrective resolutions? Where were the responsible parties charged recognizing and addressing such issues? When considering Mr. Howell’s added revelations on crumbling and sinking curbs, sidewalks less than 4 inches in thickness, fill beds less than 12 inches in width, and the lack of an earth bank against sidewalks and curbs, one has to wonder who is responsible for allowing developers and/or contractors to escape following town codes. Is it the responsibility of the Town Engineer? The Building inspectors? Or are they just following Town Board directions to “cut some slack” for their campaign contributors?

Residents throughout town profess that Lancaster is growing in a manner devoid of vision and capable management. Instead residents see Lancaster as a town suffering the impacts of uncontrolled growth resulting from an administration that favors developer best interests over that of the resident and the environment. Change is not only needed but is imperative if this town is to recover the character it was once best known for.

Kudos to the Village of Depew’s Mayor Joseph McIntosh, Board trustee John Fragale, Village clerk and administrator Bob Kucewicz, and Village justice Gordon Willis for having the courage to resign from the Action Party. Disagreements between the aforementioned Village officials regarding party policy and practices are given as the reason for the defection. It appears to many Village and Town residents that the Village officials no longer wanted to act in the best interest of a developer who has significant control and input for the Action Party. Nor did they want to suffer further embarrassments by having to shoulder the consequences fostered unto them by an Action Party figurehead not having resident best interest in mind or heart.

Controlling party members on Lancaster’s Town Board refuse to shed their alliance with special interest groups, continuing to administer and act as they have in the past several years with policies and practices that adversely impact Lancaster’s roads, traffic, wetlands, infrastructure, drainage and flooding issues, and school administration problems.

Lastly, one has to consider all the growth that has occurred under the past two administrations, all the revenues realized by said growth, and than that individual has to ask himself / herself why Lancaster’s taxes were increased by 14% this past year and have increased by 34% since 1997. Are we growing in the right direction? I am sure we will hear a lot of campaign rhetoric by the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidates saying we are on track, but ask yourself that oft times parodied question, “Do you think the Town is a better place to live in than it was seven years ago?”