Amherst to decide fix for dangerous apartment balconies

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Dozens of balconies at the Brewster Mews Apartments in Amherst are closed off, after town inspectors found them to be structurally deficient–at least two of the balconies have collapsed.

Doors to the balconies, and the patios below have been boarded up since May, so each deck that is closed affects the apartment upstairs and the unit below it.

Many of Brewster Mews’ tenants worry boarding up a door could present a fire hazard, because in an emergency, they would only have one way out, and they say the owners, MJ Peterson, has been slow to fix the balconies.

Tenants took their concerns over the defective structures to the Amherst Town Board Monday night, and Tuesday officials from Amherst’s Building Department met with a Peterson representative and an engineering firm that is designing the safety upgrades.

A spokesman for Peterson said, they have presented the Amherst Building Department with three designs for fixing the balconies, but Building Commissioner Thomas Ketchum said, Peterson’s options for fixing those decks are limited.

“Right now, they are just attached to the outside wall, with no support posts,” said Ketchum. Referring to the designs Peterson is offering to resolve the defective balconies, Ketchum said, “they are going to be putting the support posts in, so they are not cantilevered outwards from the building, or attached in some other manner.”

Since the decks are attached to the buildings, rather than supported by beams, town officials believe support posts holding up the balconies might be the only viable option at Brewster Mews.

Peterson’s spokesman said, if the town doesn’t approve their design, their only alternative might be removing the balconies, altogether. Officials from the Building Dept. meet with Peterson to work out the final details, Wednesday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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