East Aurora village trustees again debated the rundown Roycroft warehouse shipping building Monday but decided to wait and see what its owner does with the property over the summer before considering taking any action.
Despite the wait-and-see approach, most village officials were annoyed that the Stock House owner, Boice Lydell of Lakewood, is declining to allow the village’s engineer to inspect the inside of the building to determine its structural safety.
Trustee Patrick Shea said that if property maintenance issues are not worked out by fall, the village “may have something to go on.”
“The only way you’re going to resolve this is to let our structural engineer inside the building,” Village Administrator Bryan Gazda said.
The village has been concerned about the building’s safety in its current condition, despite assurances in a brief statement last year by Lydell’s engineer that it is structurally sound. When the Village Board met with Lydell two weeks ago, it asked permission for its own engineer to inspect the inside of the warehouse. Lydell balked but said he’d think about it.
The village had not heard a word from Lydell until Monday evening when Trustee Kevin Biggs called him to discuss the status of the engineer request. Lydell told Biggs that he’d allow Village Code Enforcement Officer Bill Kramer in and that he could take photographs; or that the village could hire an independent engineer. Kramer already has been inside.
Mayor Allan Kasprzak said Lydell’s response was “utterly ridiculous.”
“The village will not pay for an independent engineer, when it has one,” he said.
Village Attorney Robert Pierce said if the village determined the building was not safe, it could be cited under the maintenance and unsafe buildings sections of the village code. But Pierce later emphasized, “There’s no evidence of that, at this time.”
“We’re not making a threat. We would like to work it out with him,” Pierce said.
He told the board it had been more than accommodating by discussing the issues with Lydell and trying to strike a compromise.
Trustee Kevin Biggs said he knows Lydell seems genuine in wanting to get the building improved, including the duplication of the original building blocks for the building’s exterior, but he also noted the village could have gone after him years ago.
The stalled project has been in the works for nine years.
“We could have sent him to court six years ago with the way the building looks,” Biggs said. “But we’ve been so patient. You think that he’d be a bit more giving [in working with the village].”