Binghamton neighbors raise questions over vacant lots

By Samantha Sonner
By Perry Russom

March 27, 2014 Updated Mar 27, 2014 at 11:28 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Eighteen homes and two lots affected by the 2011 flood have been bought out by Binghamton.

The buyouts are meant to ensure improved water control and reduce repetitive loss.

As FEMA requires, nothing can be built there after the demolition, but neighbors want to know what's going to happen with the empty lots.

"The neighbors on this street are absolutely phenomenal and they deserve not to live next to an eyesore," said Jean Fornillo of Binghamton. Her and her husband Ray took the buyout.

Matthew Kier decided to stay in the neighborhood. His concern is wildlife coming into the neighborhood if the vacant lots aren't maintained. He said beavers live on an island in the river by his home and are already creating problems.

"Which makes me worry that if they get up into the properties around me, what else am I dealing with," Kier said.

Binghamton City Council held a session Thursday night for residents to ask questions about the future of the vacant lots.

"Their regulations pretty clearly spell out what can and can't be done with the properties, so it's just the exception we'll be looking at," said City Council President Teri Rennia.

Some neighbors are looking to turn the future vacant lots into dog parks or community gardens, but to do that, they first have to get approval by FEMA.

There is no demolition timetable set up yet. The city is planning on meeting with the demolition contractor Friday.

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