In a heated exchange, members of the East Aurora Village Board discussed village plans to get a warrant for an engineer to review a dilapidated Roycroft building.
The subject of the old shipping warehouse on the historic Main Street campus, where Elbert Hubbard founded an artisan community more than a century ago, came up at a board meeting Monday when Trustee Libby Weberg complained of the village’s “extreme” court-centered approach to finding out if the building was safe.
“I know we’re all frustrated with the pace of this project,” she said. “The more we can work together, the better.”
In August, the board agreed that the building was in violation of village codes and that owner Boice Lydell had not fixed them as he said he would. During the summer meeting, which Lydell did not attend, the board asked town staff to go forward with a two-pronged plan that could lead to fines. Both involve court action.
The first part of the plan is to assess the building for safety violations with an engineer’s report, which would require an engineer to go inside. The village attorney submitted papers to the town court Monday asking for a warrant to get in the building so the village could have an engineer determine its safety.
An engineer representing Lydell determined the building was structurally sound, said Weberg. In response to her complaint that the court approach was too contentious, Village Attorney Robert Pierce agreed to try to deal with Lydell directly and send him a letter to request access inside the building.
The second part involves citing Lydell for code violations. A village request to begin code violation fines was put off by a judge last month.
Justice Douglas Marky adjourned the matter until May, said Mayor Allan Kasprzak, who was frustrated by the process. “We’re back to square one,” he said.
“The board is going in the right direction, putting his feet to the fire,” he said of Lydell. “We don’t want this building knocked down, we just want it repaired.”