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100+ families considering legal action against Fairport schools

January 09, 2019 11:15 PM

More than 100 families are threatening legal action against the Fairport Central School District, as neighbors claim the district broke multiple promises in developing their new $11.2-million transportation center. 

In the 2016 Board of Education meeting minutes, the district stated the following:  

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"Further, as discussed, in response to comments raised by certain property owners living in proximity to the Project Site, a revision to the site plan was implemented to provide certain buffering so as to avoid potential impacts to a neighborhood area, including impacts from noise or other visual impacts."

Neighbors say the promises included keeping the forested barrier as an attempt to mitigate the noise and light issues, along with the aesthetics of their yard.At last minute, however, the district went ahead and removed about 300 trees anyway, destroying much of the barrier that shielded them from the commotion, lights, and buses. 

“There was always a screening of brush and trees so we couldn't see them,” said neighbor Catherine Canty.

Canty lives on Hadley Drive in Perinton and her yard runs into the transportation parking lot. She says when she first moved in 34 years ago the foliage behind her home was supposed to be “forever wild.” 

“It’s wild alright, but with buses,” she told News10NBC. 

“Light pollution increased because of it getting removed, noise level is up because bus density is up and closer to the properties,” explained Bill Schweinfurth, another neighbor that lives on Hadley Drive. 

The project is a New York State capital project, exempting the district from needing town approval but 25-percent of the funding was from taxpayers. In exchange, families say the district promised to mitigate the impact on their communities but those promises have all been broken – including a new fuel pump, resembling a gas station. 

“It wasn't until they built what we call the truck stop over here that we became concerned,” said Faye Casey, head of the Stillmeadows Home Owners Association, which is across the street from the facility on Turk Hill Road. “We knew they were going to expand the school bus garage but anything we looked at did not have that facility the way it’s set up now.” 

“There were trees that were planted in front of here but they’ve taken away a lot of that green space,” said Casey, who says 126 homeowners in Stillmeadows are concerned. 

Neighbors say the district will sit down about the concerns but not until the $11.2-million project is complete this fall. Worried about the impact on property values, more than 100 neighbors have signed a letter of intent reserving their right for legal action if necessary.

“We would like to fix these issues work with them early and not wait until the end of the project,” said Schweinfurth, who has been corresponding with the district. “We are very reasonable people.”

News10NBC reached out to the Fairport Central School District Superintendent and School Board President and received this statement: 

"Fairport Central School District is in the midst of a capital project approved by voters in 2016. This capital project includes the construction of a new transportation facility on the same site as the existing facility. Prior to construction, the district underwent thorough evaluations of plans pursuant to the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The transportation center is a working construction site, is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2019 and will include new lighting, new fencing and new landscaping."

News10NBC did respond to the district spokesperson and board president that the provided statement does not address or respond to the issues or letter of intent by neighbors but and was only told “this is the statement from the district at this time.”  

The Town of Perinton declined to comment on the issue.

Credits

Beth Cefalu

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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