Gulls Invade Batavia Leaving Nasty Mess

1:16 PM, Jul 23, 2010   |    comments
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Gulls On Batavia Rooftop

BATAVIA, NY -A warrant was issued for the property manager of the abandoned Latinia Food Market in Batavia after he failed to show up in court Friday morning.

Having previously cited the building for property code violations the city recently took the additional step of condemning it to force LKLWL into court.

The Company which owns a gull infested abandoned building in Batavia says it's aware of the problems being created by the birds and is trying to resolve them.

"We are working diligently and cooperatively with the City of Batavia to find a solution," insisted Tom Lewin, who manages the property on behalf of Buffalo based LKLWL Properties.

The  invasion of the gulls in the heart of the city's downtown business district has had a lot of people squawking since they began arriving in May.

Unlike the swallows of San Juan Capistrano - they are not a welcomed sight.

Flocks numbering several hundred birds have taken to the abandoned Latinia Food Market at the corner of Jackson and Ellicott Streets in what we're told are increasing numbers.

The building's flat roof, with sheltered areas and pools of water from rain storms seems to provide the gulls an ideal nesting ground safe from predators.

The gulls have become increasingly troublesome for nearby merchants like Ken Mistler, who owns three businesses including a restaurant he opened just this week.

"Well the noise is okay and we don't mind it because it kind of sounds like we're at the beach," said Mistler, referring to the constant screech of the birds which can be heard from a block away.

"But it's the feces, the bird droppings on all the cars, ... I haven't seen any umbrellas yet but I've seen a few people running," Mistler told WGRZ-TV.

As well, a classic car show which had been an annual event in the large parking lot adjacent to the building has been scuttled, because owners of the cars are unwilling to display them with the threat of what a barista working in a nearby coffee shop described as "presents from above".

Some have also expressed concern over the potential spread of disease from dead birds which are routinely removed from the parking lot on a daily basis.

Genesee County Health Director Randolph Garney did not return a phone call seeking his comments.

Most offensive to passers by though, may the pungent smell created by the birds and their droppings which wafts through the area.

"It's a pretty foul odor," remarked Mistler with apparently no pun intended.

"When it gets humid out it's pretty rancid down here," he said.

Companies which offer bird abatement services utilize methods ranging from the installation of spikes and rows of wires on rooftops to dissuade birds from landing, to lasers as a means to harass them from taking up residence.

"You can't just go out and kill migratory birds," Lewin said.

But approved solutions can be quite costly and Lewin acknowledged LKLWL likely doesn't have the financial means to deploy them.

Outside of confirming that the city also wishes to have a resolution to the problem, Batavia City Manager Jason Molino politely declined further comment because the case is now in the court  system.

"I'd just like to see the guy who owns the building step to the plate and take care of his building," said Mistler.

Click on the video icon to watch the story from 2 On Your Side reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Ben Read.


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