CHAUTAUQUA - Squalor, child abuse, beatings, drug dealing and theft are allegedly concentrated among occupants of a group of small dwellings along Elmwood Road near Fisherman's Lane, according to upset neighbors who spoke during the public comment portion of the Town of Chautauqua Board meeting Monday, July 9.
Ten men and women who live close by alleged a near total failure to deal with the situation by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department, county Social Service agencies including the Health Department, code enforcement officials and the town.
"We don't know where to go," Larry Pierce, who resides on Elmwood, said.
Photo by Dave O’Connor
Al McConahy, standing, complained of “uneven code enforcement” for a group of small homes along Elmwood Road and Fisherman’s Lane in the Town of Chautauqua. Nine other neighbors told town board members at their meeting Monday, July 9 of drug dealing, domestic violence and child abuse concentrated among residents of the mostly two and three room houses.
A convicted sex offender lives in one of the small structures, according to those who addressed the board. They expressed concern about the many small children they said are crowded into one and two-room shacks.
"It's a domestic violence hell-hole," Valerie Herrmann, who lives nearby with her husband Rob, said.
"It's pathetic what goes on there," Rob Herrmann said.
"Drug deals are an everyday occurrence, weekends are worse," neighbor Don Hester said. Another neighbor, Dave Martin, estimated there were, "20 drug transactions on weekends."
Councilman Dave Ward corroborated Martin. Ward said he had observed drug dealing and notified police, but was aware of only one arrest.
"This is one area of the town where we have a problem," Ward said.
"We're just as frustrated as you," Supervisor Don Emhardt said.
Emhardt said requests by the town to the police, Social Services, the Health Department and housing code enforcement have not brought effective results.
"Most of the people there are dealing with Social Services," Ward said. "We need to coordinate our efforts together."
"I'm going to get involved," County Legislator Vince Horrigan (R) said. "I need to get all the players at the county level."
Horrigan took some contact information so a meeting of the concerned residents and various county officials can be arranged.