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The Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors Tuesday authorized a preliminary site plan for construction of a new office if the agency is forced to move out of its current home at 3 E. Washington St. in the Village of Ellicottville.

Agency Director Norman Leyh said purchase negotiations authorized by board members in August are not yet final for a vacant parcel owned by Lori Northrup. CCIDA has long held a purchase option on the land fronting East Washington Street, or Route 219. The option expires Monday, but what that means was unclear Tuesday.

The proposal for a new agency building would hinge on a possible future commercial development by CCIDA landlord Fitzpatrick and Weller Inc. at the converted residence now occupied by CCIDA.

Leyh said negotiations for that project have been ongoing and the agency should have a plan if Fitzpatrick and Weller strike a deal.

"It is a move in order to protect our interests in the event we are not able to be here," Leyh told board members.

Ellicottville Mayor Charles Coolidge said Tuesday he is not aware of any official plans for imminent development of the IDA office building and said a 1998 Rite Aid proposal fell through for it and nearby Fitzpatrick and Weller properties.

Fitzpatrick and Weller haven't come to the planning board or submitted any plans or asked for any application yet, he said. "If somebody's planning on building, they've sure got to involve the Village Planning Board."

Fitzpatrick and Weller representatives could not be reached to comment Tuesday afternoon.

Under a plan proposed by Leyh, Michael Rocco with MNR Design of Great Valley will begin a cost feasibility study and preliminary design for a one-story structure and basement.

The building area would total between 1,400 and 1,800 square feet and would house IDA administrative offices. Parking for 15 automobiles would be included, and the site is large enough for future expansion, Leyh said.

The project would be located in a light-industrial zone and would need a conditional use permit from the Ellicottville Town Planning Board.

Leyh asked that the proposal be taken through its paces "for a determination one way or another and to see if that property is going to work for us."

Ms. Northrup could not be reached to comment about the status of the parcel because she is traveling out of the country until Monday, the day the purchase option expires.

An expenditure of $3,500 was requested for the work, but at the suggestion of board member Don Furman, the work will be completed in phases, with the first stage to be capped at $1,000.

In other business, the board authorized $10 million in industrial revenue bonds to assist Laidlaw Energy and Environmental Inc. in the acquisition and expansion of the Ellicottville Energy facility on Route 219 north of the village.

The company, which has been the beneficiary of prior bond issues and refinancing deals, supplies energy to Niagara Mohawk and manufactures kiln-dried hardwoods and related materials.

Two buildings will be constructed containing a total of 24,000 square feet, an increase from the 17,000 square feet earlier proposed.

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