The owner of a long-deteriorating Roycroft Campus warehouse has failed to appear before East Aurora officials, who again are demanding to know his plans for the structure as their impatience grows.
The village wants assurance that the building is structurally safe.
The village continues to field numerous complaints about the Roycroft Stock House, which is more than a century old and is commonly referred to as a warehouse or shipping building. Plans for its restoration have been in the works for nine years, but not much has occurred, village officials complain.
Stock House owner Boice Lydell did not show up at last week’s Village Board meeting due to heavy snow and difficulty traveling from his Jamestown-area home. Lydell, a Roycroft artifacts collector from Lakewood, sent an email to the village a few hours before the board meeting.
“After nine years, what’s another month’s delay?” Mayor Allan Kasprzak said, but he wasn’t brushing it off. “It just seems like one delay after another. ... That building can’t lay fallow without someone saying, ‘What are we doing about this?’ ”
Trustee Kevin Biggs was fuming.
“[Lydell] is the dance partner who doesn’t show up at the rehearsals,” he said. “I want him here before the board and public. I just want it fixed. Nine years? Come on.
“If we don’t see him by March 1, we should have a plan.”
Village Administrator Bryan Gazda agreed, with mounting frustration. “It’s stable now, but what about six months from now?” he said.
Frustration with the Stock House’s condition has many upset, given the ambitious restoration of the National Historic Landmark campus.
Safety concerns plague the building, as do concerns about its appearance and partial visibility from Main Street.
“They’re spending millions of dollars to restore the campus, and then you have that piece of garbage-looking building. It’s embarrassing,” Trustee Ernest Scheer said.
The village plans to send Lydell a letter, again asking him to attend the board’s Feb. 19 meeting and show up with detailed plans for his building as well as a timeline for the work.
Lydell has not returned several phone calls from The Buffalo News about the property. He has long said he is trying to duplicate the original building blocks for the building’s exterior so that it complies with “proper historic aesthetics.”
“We don’t know if the ‘block story’ is the truth,” Biggs said.
Lydell’s engineer also told village leaders late last year that shoring at the existing rear wall appears to be in good condition and is tight to the wall. The village, however, wants its own engineer to do an interior inspection, which Lydell has not allowed. Trustee Patrick Shea said he wants Lydell to show that the building is structurally safe, as well as to outline definite plans.
“We’d like to have our engineer look inside the building. This has been asked continuously, for him to provide a timeline, and we seem to get blown off,” Kasprzak said.
Trustee Libby Weberg seemed to urge patience with Lydell.
“I think we’ll have something that looks well, if the building is done correctly,” she said.