Weitsman Neighbors Share Concerns With Council

Safety, loss of property values and increased crime were concerns a resident living around Ben Weitsman of Jamestown shared with City Council on Monday.

Rhonda Swanson addressed the council as a city resident who lives within three blocks of Ben Weitsman of Jamestown, 610 W. Eight St., which is a scrap metal recycling business. She said the business is very loud; produces an extreme amount of dust, which could be contaminating the nearby Chadakoin River; reduces property values; and could be leading to scrap metal theft.

”I’m three blocks from them and it is very noisy,” she said. ”I don’t even get Sundays off (from the noise).”

Kathy McCarthy, Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association president, said with their boat house located on Jones and Gifford Avenue, near Weitsman, they see the effects of the business when they row in the Chadakoin River.

”Noise, dust and pollution, we do not need this stuff in the area,” she said.

Peter Lombardi, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation deputy director, said with many neighborhood improvement projects being done in the city, like the one completed along Lafayette and Jefferson streets this past summer, officials need to keep an eye on the business to protect the investment homeowners made to their properties.

”It is a situation that needs careful monitoring in the future,” he said.

Paul Whitford, Jamestown City Councilman Ward 6, said as a liaison on the city’s Planning Commission, many issues were addressed when approving site plan improvements for the business last year. The Planning Commission approved a retention pond and pavement project in August, which the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved in September. A 4-foot-deep retention pond and 91,000-square-foot paved area will be part of the project to reduce the amount of airborne dust in the surrounding area that presents health concerns for local residents and people working in the area. The paving of a high percentage of the site is supposed to alleviate the airborne pollution generated by the business’ operations. There will be a new additional office building, a new recovery building and a new scale added as part of the project. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has also approved the project.

Vince DeJoy, city development director, said Weitsman officials went through a ”vigorous” site plan approval before the changes were approved. DeJoy said the renovations to the business will begin once the weather breaks.

”We understand (your concerns), and we will monitor them,” DeJoy said.

Earlier this month, Paul Weinstein, Ben Weitsman of Jamestown vice president, told The Post-Journal they want to create a better work environment for the neighborhood and for the customers to have a better experience when coming into the scrapyard as opposed to coming to dirt and mud. The company has 18 locations across New York and Pennsylvania. The Jamestown business is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.