East Aurora Village Board seeks fines over Roycroft building disrepair - The Buffalo News
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East Aurora Village Board seeks fines over Roycroft building disrepair

A frustrated East Aurora Village Board agreed to seek fines that could climb to $1,000 a day or more and get an engineer to inspect a dilapidated building on the historic Roycroft Campus.

The gray building, which was once used as a shipping warehouse, has trim in need of paint, broken windows and a crack to its front, braced by wood beams.

The structure’s poor state has been a problem for years, Mayor Allan A. Kasprzak said during a board meeting Monday evening.

Trustees want to avoid demolition and find another way to get the building repaired.

“This village, this board and its residents have put up with this way too long,” Kasprzak said. “The building is basically coming apart. There are no more chances.”

The owner, Boice Lydell, who was not at the meeting, agreed earlier this year to make improvements by Monday, but there was no evidence of any change this summer, Kasprzak said.

Lydell, a Lakewood collector of Roycroft artifacts, met with village officials in February and talked about duplicating the building’s uniquely patterned exterior blocks as part of the repairs he estimated at $16,000 to $100,000. When asked if he had the money, he replied, “I think so.”

The poor condition of the building can trigger two kinds of village fines, which the village wants to use to force Lydell to “either fix it up or give it up,” said William R. Kramer, code enforcement officer.

The building’s shabby appearance violates property maintenance rules, which could cost $250 a day, Kramer said. If an engineer determines that it is unsafe after an inspection, those fines could be $1,000 a day.

“We want to do everything we can to take care of the building,” said Robert J. Pierce, village attorney, who was instructed by the board to begin drafting the paperwork required to get court permission to go inside.

Trustee Ernest F. Scheer said he is frustrated by the process thus far. “It’s making us look like a bunch of idiots,” he said.

Scheer said he would like the building to go to the nonprofit Roycroft Campus Corp. “Sell the building to them and have them fix it,” he said. “That’s the answer right there.”

Christine Peters, executive director of the campus, said after the meeting that she was concerned about the warehouse building’s safety but that the Roycroft Campus is more focused on other projects, such as buying the old print shop building from its current owner, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

“It’s way too premature,” she said of Scheer’s suggestion. “It’s not even on our radar.”

email: mkearns@buffnews.com

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