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Dilapidated Dunkirk building to be demolished

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon 501 S. Roberts Road, Dunkirk is being transferred to the Chautauqua County Land Bank for demolition purposes.

A dilapidated tavern and apartment building in the city of Dunkirk is expected to be demolished after the latest owner was unable to save it.

During the Chautauqua County Legislature meeting, officials unanimously agreed to cancel the taxes on 501 S. Roberts Road so it could be transferred to the county Land Bank.

The amount of canceled taxes was $6,122.

According to the resolution, the Land Bank had intended to withdraw this parcel from the foreclosure auction for demolition prior to the sale and intends to demolish and place the remaining lot for sale to new investors.

There was no discussion during the full legislature meeting, however during committee meetings, it was stated that the property was purchased in a tax auction in 2022. “It’s structurally unsound. Someone did buy it and tried to put money into it and fix it. An engineer has told them it’s not savable,” said attorney Todd Thomas with both the county and the county Land Bank.

Thomas said it has an assessed valuation of $94,900, even though it’s structurally unsound.

It’s listed on real estate sites as a mixed use property with two residential units upstairs and commercial space on the ground floor. The property is zoned residential.

The county’s GIS system says it used to be a neighborhood tavern.

Thomas said oftentimes the land bank tries to market vacant parcels to neighbors, but this lot is big enough that the Land Bank thinks it could find someone to redevelop it.

Legislator Dan Pavlock, R-Ellery, said while he supports the proposal, he expressed concern that it could set a precedence, where homeowners will try to donate their dilapidated properties to the land bank instead of trying to fix them up.

Thomas agreed but said this case is unique in that the Land Bank had actually planned on pulling it from the tax auction before it was sold. Also, the new owner sank a lot of money trying to save the structure. “We might not ordinarily entertain the request,” he said.

The resolution was unanimously approved.

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