Need for emergency holding area at jail raises questions on Batavia council
Submitted by Howard Owens on May 24, 2010 - 9:20pm
Batavia City Council members have some concerns about a Sheriff's Office proposal to build an emergency holding area for prisoners north of the Genesee County Jail in a current parking area and driveway immediately off Porter Avenue.
The need for the emergency evacuation area is being mandated by the state -- the jail needs a place to put detainees in an emergency situation where they must leave the jailhouse.
The holding area would be surrounded by a chainlink fence, and the county requires an easement from the city to install it.
Councilman Bill Cox raised the concern that in a few years the jail may very well move -- perhaps to a joint facility with Orleans County -- and the proposed evacuation area wouldn't be needed. But if the city grants a permanent easement, it may not be able to get the land back.
He wants the county to agree to remove any structures at its own expense should the need for the facility change.
Councilman Bob Bialkowski raised an issue about limited parking. Currently, the county has 11 parking spaces in the proposed holding area. That parking, apparently, would be pushed into space now used by the Batavia Police Department.
The council asked for more information before voting on the easement proposal at its next business meeting.
Photo Illustration: Satellite image from Google Maps of the jail and police building. The highlighted area is approximately where the holding area would be. This is not an official government document or actual representation of the fence line.