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Brocton board debates future of demolished property

OBSERVER Photo by Natasha Matteliano The Brocton Village Board at a recent village meeting discussed the future of a property on Highland Avenue that was recently demolished following a partial collapse.

BROCTON — A property recently demolished in the village led to a debate between members of the Brocton Village Board and the village attorney.

The board on July 15 held its first in-person meeting since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In attendance were Mayor Richard Frost, trustees Bryan Woleben, Carol Horlacher, Craig Miller, village attorney Peter Clark, clerk Scott Jagoda and two other village staff members.

Of the few topics discussed was a property located at 4 Highland Ave. About half of the residence recently collapsed, resulting in an emergency demolition due to the threat of a neighboring home.

Clark thinks the best move for the village is to take ownership of the property and let the Chautauqua County Land Bank clean it up.

“I think it’s a good deal for us, we might as well get rid of it,” Clark said. “We’ll just sit and look at it until we end up paying to get rid of it.”

Clark’s proposal was met with concern from Miller.

“We don’t need to be in business of cleaning up other people’s properties,” Miller said. “If we take ownership, we just took another property off of the tax rolls. … Do the taxpayers want this property?”

Clark responded with the explanation that the village would not be cleaning up the property, the Land Bank would be. He also mentioned that the current owner of the property does not pay any taxes on it.

“I think they (the taxpayers) would like it cleaned up,” Clark said. “It’s in the best interest of the village to have it cleaned up.”

Woleben added that the property could be a fire hazard.

Miller said he was frustrated he was not notified by the mayor or the attorney about the status of the building, even when it fell down. “How does all of this take place without the Village Board authorizing it?” he asked.

Frost explained that the owner of the property declared that it was an emergency, not the village, so it did not need approval from the board.

Horlacher asked Clark about the village owning the property after the Land Bank was done cleaning it up. Clark explained that once the property is cleaned up, the village may use it for something or declare it surplus and sell it. He also stated that this process would not cost the village anything, and the Land Bank would cover the cost.

The board passed a resolution that will allow Clark to start legal proceedings in acquiring the property for the village.

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