Property owner spars with village officials

WELLSVILLE — An Alliance resident appeared before Wellsville Village Council last week to address a cleanup letter at a property he owns, as well as a complaint regarding a tree that fell on a neighbor’s property.

Harold Long addressed a letter he received recently regarding his property on Nevada Street, which required him to have the property cleaned up.

Long stated police were called about items that were stolen from the property and had been witnessed by two neighbors, but stated his son was asked to come in and provide testimony to the theft, supposedly done by a son-in-law but not confirmed.

“They had two people witnessing them stealing the stuff, but I don’t know why they want my son to come down because it was only hearsay to him that his brother-in-law stole the stuff,” Long said.

He also contended he has not received any information from the fire department about a fire at the house in 2016, that had been ruled arson. He said a neighbor who reportedly witnessed the theft also saw who set the fire to the home, but got no response.

Mayor Nancy Murray said she would have police contact the neighbors in question regarding the theft.

Murray, however, also addressed a complaint received from one resident about a portion of a tree reportedly on Long’s property which fell and damaged the neighbor’s truck.

“That’s impossible,” Long said. “Either that or he’s parked on my property, but that’s impossible for that tree to take a fall on his property.”

As Fire Chief Barry Podwel attempted to address the arson issue, Long started to leave council chambers but was asked by Murray to return.

After Long re-entered the room, Podwel explained the arson was being handled by now-retired chief Bill Smith. He said he spoke to a neighbor, but said no statements were received.

“He said that if I can’t get them guys to do any statements, there’s nothing that I can do,” Podwel said.

Podwel also addressed the tree issue, and stated he spoke with the neighbor whose truck was damaged, adding that pictures were taken showing the truck was parked on his own property and not Long’s property, which Long still stated “That’s impossible”.

“I got pictures and everything,” Podwel said. “It was across the power lines and down on his truck. It’s all burnt, it’s all dead and everything so it needs to come down.”

Long stated he will eventually clean the damage, adding he is on a fixed income.

Ultimately, Murray stopped the conversation due to the village’s three-minute time limit rule. Podwel advised Long to contact him during normal business hours.

Meanwhile, Podwel also presented the fire department’s monthly call report for August, which amounted to four calls — its lowest call volume for the year.

The breakdown included two reports of tree branches on power lines, one call of landscaping ties smoldering, and one lift assist.

The August 2018 count was half of the August 2017 count, which had eight reports. So far in 2018, fire crews have responded to 68 calls for the year, a decrease from the same time in 2017 when fire crews responded to 80 calls.