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A West Seneca couple left the Orchard Park Town Board meeting angry Wednesday night after board members decided to go forward with the demolition process on their property in the town.

"We came to an agreement with this gentleman right here on the phone," Laurie Siwy said about building inspector Andrew Geist. "I just don't understand."

Geist said he and James Siwy did not come to an agreement about the house at 574 Lakeview Ave. when they talked on the phone, and he told Siwy the decision was up to the Town Board.

"The bottom line is, as I told you, if you got the outward appearance of the house looking decent - fix the roof, fix the windows, the siding - I was OK with leaving it empty if you're still trying to sell it, if that's what you want to do," Geist said, "but to just do nothing is not acceptable."

The house was damaged in a fire in December 2009, before Siwy bought it. The Siwys insisted they are trying to sell the house as is, and they gave the town a letter from a structural engineer stating that it is sound.

Geist noted that they had put the house up on Craigslist, but he said that's not enough.

"It's about appearance. It's not necessarily that it's structurally unsafe. It's an eyesore. It's a nuisance to the neighborhood," the building inspector said.

He said the town has gotten multiple complaints about the property, from copper being stolen out of it to rodents and other animals inside.

Laurie Siwy denied there are rodents in the house, but Geist said the couple has denied him access to the house, so he could not verify that.

"If it's about appearance, I don't know why he has to go inside," she said. "We're trying to sell it as is."

The board declared the structure unsafe and dangerous, and said the owners have 60 days since they were first notified at the end of July to make improvements.

"The passing of the motion doesn't automatically say it's going to come down," Geist said.

The Siwys said they would contact a lawyer.

Also Wednesday, the board heard from Jacqueline Briggs, president of the Orchard Park Senior Council, that the group's pancake breakfast raised $1,788 for the fund for a new senior center. Seniors also are working at a concession stand at Buffalo Bills games and have raised $1,300.

The fund now has more than $24,000, she said.

"We are very serious about a larger senior center with more parking," Briggs said.





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