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SEP 09- SEP 17, 2014

Neighbors Angry Over Little River's Ugly Boat

By Tony Farina

September 09, 2014

Glenn Ferris points out the ugly boat across the Little River that neighbors have to both see and hear constantly. Besides the visual, the metal boat clangs constantly against the metal boat behind it.

Let's call this one the case of the ugly boat.

It is docked for all to see across the Little River from 7723 Buffalo Ave., a big eyesore for residents on both sides of the river who are tired of seeing it but can't get the property owner where it sits behind 7714 W. Rivershore Dr. on Cayuga Island to take it away.

"It has been there for three years, and has never moved," says Frank D'Agostino who lives at beautifully landscaped 7723 Buffalo Ave. and is tired of walking out into his backyard every day and being greeted by the sight of the ugly boat, bobbing and crashing against its moorings in an otherwise idyllic setting.

"The neighbors on both sides of the Little River have asked me to try and get some action," said the businessman known as Chick, "and so far we haven't been able to get anything done because the city has no jurisdiction on the water. But I have at least 15 people who have come to me and are tired of seeing that ugly work scow sitting there every day and we're hoping the Niagara Falls Reporter can help. That boat hasn't moved in three years and we're sick of looking at it."

We tried to reach the resident of the property in front of where the boat sits, but Mark Priest, who lives at 7714 W. Rivershore Dr., did not return telephone calls or answer his doorbell.

But according to the city's chief code enforcement officer, Dennis Virtuoso, Priest has told city officials he doesn't own the ugly boat, it is owned by a friend, but despite his requests, the friend has not removed the boat and it has sat there unused for three years.

"Our jurisdiction ends at the shoreline," said Virtuoso who nonetheless has reached out to the sheriff's department and other possible enforcement agencies to try and get something done. "It looks like they (other agencies) are waiting for the boat to move before they can act. The boat is unlicensed."

We put in several calls to the Niagara Falls Sheriff's Department on Monday, but as of press time we had not received any feedback on what the department's marine unit intends to do about the ugly boat.

Doug Janese, an attorney in the city law department, said the city's hands are tied in trying to resolve the growing neighborhood anger over the ugly boat's seemingly permanent residence on the shoreline.

"The Niagara River is a designated navigable waterway and is the property of the state," said Janese. "Our jurisdiction ends at the shoreline. As long as it is kept in the water, it is stopping us from having any enforcement. It may not be an ideal statute, but we have to follow the law."

Virtuoso is continuing to campaign to have something done, and he reportedly has written a "move the boat or else" letter to Priest, with a Friday (Sept. 12) deadline. But frankly, it appears there is not much the city or Virtuoso can do if there is no action to remove the eyesore. It may stay there forever unless the state or the Coast Guard can find a way to get it out of there.

Meanwhile, as the beautiful summer days come to an end, residents near the ugly boat on both sides of the river continue to have their enjoyment of the season and the beauty of the shoreline marred by the ugly red boat docked behind W. Rivershore Dr., apparently out of reach of officials who would like nothing more than to be able to tell D'Agostino and his neighbors that the boat is sailing off into the sunset, never to return.

When he's not fuming over the ugly boat across from his backyard, D'Agostino spends the season entertaining tourists from around the world as the owner of Cataract Tours which operates out of One Niagara. You could say there is a touch of irony in his position as a tour operator, focused on showcasing the beauty of the region, and the personal story of the ugly boat that sits across the Little River from his home.

It is not a crime to own an ugly boat, or an ugly car or dog. But when does ugly cross the line? Maybe when you put a lot of effort into making your property picture perfect, an ugly boat outside your window or next door does it. We'll keep you posted.

Where do we draw the line? Suppose your neighbor had an ugly wife, do you think neighbors should have the right to keep her out of her yard where you could see her?





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