OLEAN — A project delay for a new survey and promises to help Boardmanville neighbors with future issues stemming from a new water pump station were put forward on Tuesday.
The Common Council in a special meeting unanimously approved a delay of up to 30 days on the beginning of construction on a new pump station near the corner of Main Street and Arland Avenue in order to get a third-party survey completed. However, after discussions, the suspension will not affect site work and removal of trees and brush from the area.
Mayor Bill Aiello said the delay was acceptable. City Department of Public Works Director Bob Ring said that it will take time before construction on the foundation of the building can begin.
“I think you’re probably looking at weeks,” Ring said, noting that the site has to be prepared and the water line tapped into beforehand — with no real cost being incurred in the meantime due to the delay.
Residents have voiced opposition to the project, noting concerns with drainage, sound from the pumps and a generator on site, intrusion on the neighborhood and the loss of wildlife habitat due to taking down trees and other vegetation. A week ago, several spoke out at a council meeting, while others joined together on Friday to meet with the mayor and other city officials.
Before the council’s resolution on Tuesday, construction was expected to start today on the $789,000 project.
Aiello noted that several compromises have been approved by city officials, including removing a radio tower, improved drainage, planting new trees and shrubs to limit storm runoff and limit neighbors’ views of the building, and a decorative access gate. The mayor said he also promised to meet again with residents to discuss steps moving forward.
Alderman Linda Witte, the Democrat who represents the project’s neighbors in the First Ward, said the survey would go a long way toward putting neighbors at ease that their property rights were not being violated.
“We know where it’s going — not everybody is happy with it,” Witte said. “We’d love to take it and put it way up high where we thought it would be, but that’s not going to happen.”
Noting the concerns of neighbors, “I really don’t think their list is that long,” Witte said. “Folks just want to make sure their property is not being intruded on.”
She said he hopes the city can further address the drainage, exacerbated by poor planning by developers farther up the hill a half-century ago and natural springs.
“They’re just asking to be treated fairly,” she added. “Tomorrow, we could find someone to do (the survey) next week or the week after.”
Alderman Jason Panus, R-Ward 2, said, “The onus is on us that if there’s something wrong, we’ll make it right.”
Witte noted that the project’s construction has already…