LAKEWOOD – Homeowners in the Village of Lakewood speaking out and demanding action to address disturbances in their relatively quiet neighborhood.
A group of residents voiced their concerns about illegal activities at two houses on Ohio Street and Pennsylvania Avenue this week, calling on local officials to take action.
“We have massive amounts of problems with two houses in the neighborhood with years and years of complaints. They have done over $25,000 worth of damage in the last 18 months. This has gone on for, like I said for more than 30, and I think all the residents are to the point where we’re fed up and frustrated and we want answers,” said petition owner, Chase Darling.
Currently, the petition has dozens of signatures and is continuing to grow.
“There’s been excessive profanity, there’s been drug use both on the buying and selling side, there’s been domestic violence, there was a high speed pursuit a few months back that ended up on the street,” Darling explained. “On top of that, we’ve also experienced regular violence between the tenants and we’ve also experienced theft from tenants that were there.”
In the end, residents just want the criminal activity to stop.
“Everybody deserves to have some tranquility and they deserve to have some peace and obviously these are all taxpayers so we want a resolution,” said Darling.
Unfortunately, the solution to the problem doesn’t seem to be as simple as the residents hoped for.
“People have their personal space rights, otherwise if that was the case we could access anybody’s single family home,” explained the Village of Lakewood and Town of Busti Code Enforcer, Jeff Swanson.
Swanson explains that new policies, and regulations, are getting hard to keep up with, especially with a staffing shortage.
“The thing that people have to realize is that it seems like anymore every street has violations on it. We try to do it where we only react to complaint forms now because we’d have all day just doing property maintenance issues and I feel that we do need a regionalized housing court, local court is tough to get people in front of,” Swanson said.
WNY News Now reached out to the Village of Lakewood Police Chief to see if the properties are on law enforcement’s radar, and if they plan to take any criminal action against those living there.
In a statement, Christopher DePonceau said “It’s definitely on our radar, we’ve been having issues for quite a few years with some of the tenants that live there. It’s our problem house and it’s been a problem house for years”
“The next step is with the zoning issues, if the residence is not in compliance the zoning officer will have to issue a report.”
“If anyone has any security footage from that area, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York or anywhere in the area, if they would like to provide us with that footage we’d be more than glad to look and follow through with the complaints.”