DEC inquiry reveals ‘unusual’ property in Gowanda

OBSERVER Photo by J.M. Lesinski From left to right, Trustee Paul Zimmerman, Mayor Dave Smith and Trustee Wanda Koch, at the July meeting of the Gowanda Village Board.

GOWANDA — Two properties being eyed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in the village were brought up to the board at their July meeting.

Village attorney Deb Chadsey informed the board of the DEC’s intentions during her comments. “The DEC has asked the village for permission to access the old landfill,” she stated, adding. “They’ve identified two pieces of property. … When I reviewed (them) I could, through deeds, determine the village owned the second.”

Though the second property is owned by the village, the first doesn’t appear to be, according to Chadsey. “I could not determine that the village owned the first, and it is not in the village,” she noted. “If you go to the Erie County GIS mapping data site … (the first) doesn’t come up.”

The property continued to befuddle Chadsey in her research, as she went on to comment, “If you put it (the property’s official number in the county GIS database) in backwards … it says it’s owned by the village of Gowanda.”

Further complicating the issue is the lack of available deeds in the online database as well. “I can’t find any deeds because the deeds online only go back to maybe the fifties,” Chadsey commented. “Maybe the village has owned it since 1812, I don’t know.”

Unable to confirm if the village owns the property or not, Chadsey recommended that the board only approve DEC access to the affirmed village-owned property. “I can’t confirm we own it, and because I can’t confirm (that), we can’t give somebody legal authority to access it,” she said of the matter, adding. “(The) DEC has been very cool, they understand completely. The second property we own, they can access it.”

The board approved the resolution granting the DEC access to the second property and steered Chadsey in the direction of paper deeds in village hall for further examination regarding the first property.

Closing out her comments, Chadsey added one final point, “It’s kind of unusual for the village to own property that’s not in the village.”

In other news, Mayor Dave Smith announced that an additional $11,400.13 in Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funding has been restored to the village for extreme winter recovery funds.

The board also approved the donation of $500 from village funds for the Gowanda Chamber of Commerce Music in the Park program, as well as the addition of the “Blue By U Summer Youth Track & Field Program” to the village’s summer recreation program, retroactive July 9.