Smoking concerns at apartment complex in Lancaster

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB)- There are “no smoking” signs all over Lancaster Towers’ property, but some residents claim many aren’t following the rules.

For one resident with serious asthma, it’s becoming a health problem.

“It comes into my room, and I’m very, very sensitive to it,” said Mark Rehrauer.

The building hasn’t allowed smoking since August. It partners with HUD, and followed suit after many public housing properties went non-smoking also.

Rehrauer said residents on his floor smoke anyway; he’s gotten serious asthma attacks since moving into the building in May.

He claims he’s tried to move units, but building management didn’t allow it.

“I told management, and they said well we can’t do that. And I said well why not? We just can’t do that. I didn’t get an answer why they couldn’t do it.”

He was told by HUD he should be able to move units if he wishes, and if one is available.

There’s on neighbor in particular, he told us, whose smoking is impacting his health. He fears it’s only going to get worse.

“In the winter time, especially when the snow is starting to come, you know she’s not going to be out there in the street and smoking. And I don’t blame her, but I can’t go on with my health problems like this either.”

His doctor confirms the second hand smoke is causing problems.

Lorraine O’Connor is the Assistant Vice President of the Affordable Housing Division of Benchmark Management.

She told News 4 the resident in question was issued a lease violation after being caught smoking once, but that she hasn’t been caught in the last seven times management was called to check on her.

As a policy, they won’t intervene and speak to the neighbor on Rehrauer’s behalf, they say all they can do is issue violations if and when they occur.

O’Connor said Rehrauer has the option of possible transfer, if he fills out a Reasonable Accommodation Form, which Rehrauer told us he just recently was made aware of.

The concern of smokers breaking the rules, especially come winter, was one of the concerns voiced by BMHA residents during its consideration of a smoking ban as well.

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