LEWISTON – While many Niagara County residents have had to cope recently with flooded yards and basements, people on Riverwalk Drive have had to deal with flooded yards for years. Monday, however, they learned there may be a solution to the problem.
Some of the homeowners told the Lewiston Town Board that since they moved into the new subdivision six years ago they have seen their yards inundated with from 12 to 24 inches of water on occasions.
“It’s a wetlands,” resident Maggie Pollock said of the development. ”They never should have given them permission to build there.”
Town Supervisor Steven Reiter told the residents that both the town and the developer bear responsibility for the problem.
“I think that this was an engineering problem” that the town and the developer have to accept some responsibility for, Reiter said. “This is not a simple solution.”
Town Engineer Ryan Smith said that a number of ideas have been examined and that a plan is expected to be presented by the Aug. 26 meeting.
Smith said using drainage pipes at Joseph Davis State Park was ruled out because of capacity issues and the lack of state approval.
Also rejected was a plan to direct the water to the water treatment plant
Smith said the best plan is to install drainage pipes at the edge of the properties and direct the pipes across River Road to the Niagara River.
“There is actually a drainage easement owned by Niagara County that has a significant drop toward the river, and we will try to utilize that system,” Smith said.
Smith estimated it would take about three weeks to install the 12-inch pipe.
Reiter said the town would restore the landowner property and repair pipelines but would need a permanent 10-foot easement to make sure no fences or structures are built on the pipeline.
He said the project should move forward quickly.
“These people have been waiting a long time,” he said,
Highway Superintendent Douglas Janese clashed with Reiter during the meeting. He suggested that his drainage crews could solve the problem without bringing in engineers, noting that people have waited 10 years for a solution.
After the meeting, he accused Reiter of a re-election ploy.
“All I want to do is push it forward,” Janese said. “Mr. Reiter was the drainage supervisor for the past 10 years, and he did absolutely nothing – until he thought he would have to run for election.”
In other business, the board approved a plan to allow three four-story buildings for a 139-unit senior citizen apartment complex in the area around the current site of the Hill-Vue restaurant area, a seven-acre site at 1437, 1441 and 1451 Ridge Road, at the corner of Model City Road.
The project, called Bridgewater Estates, is on land owned by Reiter’s mother, Marjorie. Reiter abstained from the vote.
The land was sold to an Amherst developer and has already received approval from the Zoning and Planning boards. Reiter said after the meeting that construction is expected to begin “pretty soon.”
The $12.3 million project was also granted tax incentives by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. The incentives are estimated to save the developers nearly $1.8 million over 15 years.