Fate of decaying Price house debated in East Aurora - The Buffalo News

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Fate of decaying Price house debated in East Aurora

The owner of a decaying house where a Fisher-Price toy company founder once lived repeated his wish to tear it down at the same meeting that the Historic Preservation Commission accepted a request for its protection as a local landmark.

After commission member John Newton told the board Wednesday evening that his email to Chairman Mark Warren would serve as a formal request for landmark status, the attorney representing the owner of the 1840s-era house at 259 Main St. said it was in “utterly deplorable condition.”

“The entire structure is completely compromised,” said Corey Auerbach, speaking for Gene Wachala, owner of Pasquale’s restaurant, who sat beside him. A water main break cost a few thousand in water bills and damage that included 3 feet of water in the basement, they said.

“There was water running there for a long time,” Auerbach said before asking if a demolition request could be considered in tandem with landmark status.

In the discussion at the meeting that lasted about an hour, Warren explained that the landmark process would supersede a demolition permit.

Some commission members said they felt strongly that the house where Irving Price lived when he helped found Fisher-Price should be left intact.

“To me, they’re part of the fabric of the village’s historic nature,” said Kitty Turgeon.

Wachala owns two houses, the Greek Revival home at 259 and its less-celebrated, circa-1880 clapboard neighbor at 253. Newton, who researched the histories, applied for landmark status for both. His request Wednesday begins a review process that will include a public hearing, perhaps at the commission’s May meeting. The panel must then make a recommendation.

Ultimately, the Village Board will decide whether to grant landmark status. Several board members have already been adamant about their interest in saving the Price house.

Before leaving with his client, Auerbach said they would have more details to share about its condition as the landmark process unfolds. No. 259 was already in poor shape when Wachala bought it two years ago with the idea that he would tear it down for parking and perhaps another building.

“We look forward to continuing the dialog with you as this moves through the process,” said Auerbach.

email: mkearns@buffnews.com

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