Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 28, 2013

Access granted

City granted temporary ownership of dry cleaning site

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The City of Lockport has been granted temporary ownership of the Peters Dry Cleaning site on Willow Street, so cleanup can finally begin.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. granted the city’s request for access to 316 Willow St. The property is in tax foreclosure.

The city was looking for access to the property so demolition and cleanup of that hazardous waste site could begin. That cleanup includes knocking down what’s left of the building, asbestos removal and replacement of the soil. The soil is contaminated with dry cleaning chemicals.

The work would be done by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and will cost the city nothing. Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said the DEC will place a lien on the property and the city will be able to resell it. The property is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

“He (Ottaviano) doesn’t want his client to be stuck (with the cleanup costs,)” Kloch said in court on Thursday.

The unused store partially collapsed Dec. 15, 2011, and its owner, Patrick McFall and the city fought over the cleanup. Lockport city officials insisted on an asbestos study while McFall disagreed.

In May 2012, the city had cited McFall for failure to clean up the debris on the property, which McFall’s business had vacated shortly before the collapse. McFall bought the business in 2007.

McFall took a guilty plea to a single building code violation and was sentenced to probation and paying restitution after a long court battle - one that included McFall being jailed for five days until he was released when it was discovered he should have had a jury trial.