A big step forward for Peabody Street

Judge Carney Rules in Favor of Residents Demands at Former Concrete Crushing Facility

Battaglia Demolition back in City Housing Court to determine if derelict building can be demolished in Seneca-Babcock

Today, June 9th, 2022, the Honorable Judge Carney in Buffalo City Housing court ruled in favor of the City of Buffalo and residents. The Judge ordered Battaglia to immediately exterminate the property’s rat infestation, as well as giving the City the legal authority to pursue a cleanup and demolition order and permits for the Seneca Street property. Judge Carney’s ruling today gives a significant amount of power to the City of Buffalo and the residents to pursue the legal, environmental, public health and community participation future of the site. Battaglia will be back in Housing Court on August 3rd.

Residents living on Peabody Street in Buffalo’s Seneca Babcock neighborhood have organized for more than a decade to hold Battaglia Demolition, a waste transfer site that was illegally operating a concrete crusher, accountable. Battaglia’s operations shook the foundations of residents’ homes, polluted the air with diesel particulates, and blanketed the neighborhood in silica dust, a pollutant known to cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma, lung disease and lung cancer.

Since the 2018 shutdown of Battaglia Demolition, the property has fallen into abandonment, with piles of concrete dust still swirling from the site through the neighborhood air. The derelict property has become a site with illegal dumping, and is now full of garbage and refuse, attracting rats.  The building Battaglia Demolition once occupied mysteriously caught fire after a 2021 settlement was reached, and now sits vacant, leaving residents with an eyesore and a dangerous burnt out building in their backyards.

Battaglia reached a settlement agreement with the NYS Attorney General and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 2021 under NYS Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Judge Chimes. While residents remain frustrated at the lack of action to implement the settlement, and outraged at the miscarriage of justice in its proceedings, action by the City of Buffalo to hold an emergency demolition at the site would bring temporary relief.

“Me and my neighbors still don’t understand how Battaglia was only fined $50,000 when he was facing up to $14 million in fines and fees to the State. We feel like we got  slapped in the face, but Battaglia got off with a slap on the wrist and lunch with the Judge”, Diane Lemanski, Clean Air member and Peabody Street resident.

In April of 2022, Buffalo City Councilmembers Bollman and Nowakowski issued a letter to Hon. Judge Chimes, urging her office to take action at the 1037 Seneca Street property. The letter echoed what community members have been saying for years; that the owner has shown time and time again that he does not care about the residents who live in the area and needs a strong arm to push any action at the site.

“The time is now for action at Battaglia Demolition. We call on the NYSDEC and the City to have on site air monitoring during any demolition or further work on the site to ensure that residents are not exposed to asbestos, silica dust or other toxic substances when the building is taken down once and for all”, Emily Terrana, Director of Organizing, Clean Air.


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