SILVER CREEK - From almost any direction you enter the village of Silver Creek, you are greeted by a derelict building. This was the complaint of several residents at the village board meeting Monday.
Resident and Planning Board Chair Maureen Morabito addressed the board as a daughter with concerns about a property neighboring her elderly mother's house on the west side of the village.
She said the multi-family house on the corner of Jackson Street and Central Avenue was previously damaged by fire, has many code violations, is home to rats and has piles of garbage outside.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Silver Creek resident and Planning Board Chair Maureen Morabito shows the village board a picture of a poorly-kept property near her mother’s home on Jackson Street. Also pictured are Clerk Kerrieann Pelletter and Mayor Nick Piccolo.
"Something must be done," she told the board.
She said she has notified village Code Enforcement Officer Linda Defries-Johnson and the county health department but the property continues to be a problem.
"We have laws on the books, but they must be enforced. If they are, then everyone would have a nice property. Everyone who drives down Route 5 sees it and what does that say? It's a disgrace," she said.
Mayor Nick Piccolo said DeFries sent the landlord, who lives in the town of Portland, a letter to clean up the property. He said an extension was granted but that time has passed and the next step is to issue a ticket to appear in court.
Morabito said she does not know how a certificate of occupancy was issued after the fire and with so many code violations.
She added there is one way to make sure the law is followed.
"The only way to make our community look good is to hit these people in the pocketbook," she said.
Resident and Planning Board Member Sandra Lindstrom asked about two buildings on the east side of the village: the Moose Building near the old Petri's plant and the Revere Inn next to Am Vets, both on Central Avenue.
Piccolo said Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency Director and CEO Bill Daly was actively pursuing having the company that bought the Petri's Banking Products plant also purchase the Moose building for a reduced price. He said that was not successful.
He added a county auction of the property was also unsuccessful, with two bidding parties backing out.
Piccolo said DeFries-Johnson has been actively issuing citations and letters, including at the Revere Inn. He said the owner was told to secure the building, which is inhabited by raccoons.
He said this was done, but not well enough to stop the raccoons from finding a way in.
She also asked about the blue house at 350 Central Ave., which has been abandoned for years.
Piccolo said someone out-of-state bought the property online not knowing the back of the house is falling off the cliff and it does not have a connection to the sewer. He said he received no further communication after he told this person the Department of Environmental Conservation will hold them responsible if the house falls into the creek.
Resident Dennis Palmer addressed the blight property on the south side of the village - the old Silver Creek School on Main Street.
Recently the south wall of the school partially collapsed and was roped off. The county is trying to find a way to put a fence around the property.
Palmer said he intends to write to the county about the cats living in the building and the bulging north wall, which he expects could look like the south wall very soon.
Piccolo explained this is a strange situation because no one owns the school and the county will not take full responsibility of the property.
It was noted no village taxes have been paid on the property for over a decade.
Piccolo has previously said that STEL, Inc. is still pursuing grant money to demolish or restore the building for apartments.
The board will meet again on May 19.