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Wales officials unimpressed after visit to Auctions International

A long-running showdown between the Wales Town Council and a local businessman doesn’t appear likely to be nearing an end.

Two council members visited Auctions International last week with building inspector Walter Raichel to assess construction and cleanup activities at the site.

Their report at Tuesday’s council work session indicated they were under-whelmed by what they saw.

The business located on Route 20A about one mile east of the 400 expressway has been a point of contention in the town for several years.

Residents frequently complain that the site presents an untidy image for Wales, and town officials are frustrated with lack of construction progress despite numerous extensions.

Last week’s visit was prompted by a request from Russ Scherer, owner of Auctions International, for a 12-month extension to complete construction.

Council members Jude Hartrich and Donald Butcher came away from their visit unimpressed.

Trailers on the site are filled with construction material but Butcher said the trailers are in an out-of-the-way location and almost serve as a privacy fence.

Ten unregistered cars sit on the property, along with antique plows, a boat and trolley.

“The septic [system] is not completed, which according to Erie County has to be done by September or they’re going to pull the permit,” Hartrich added.

Hartrich noted the town gave Scherrer an extension in July 2012 to complete two buildings by December 2012, but only their foundations have been completed.

A State Supreme Court order issued in 2013 gave Scherrer until July 1 to erect his buildings.

“It seems like these completion dates just keep rolling over and over and over,” Hartrich said.

“He’s going to do what he wants to do for as long as he’s there,” said councilman Gerald Klinck.

Supervisor Rickey Venditti said Scherrer continually breaks special use permit agreements and court orders.

“We’ve acted in good faith, with honesty and integrity and upheld our end of the agreement,” Venditti said. “It seems like it’s a one-way street.”

Councilman Michael Simon suggested that the council’s choices are to deny the extension or take legal steps to address non-compliance with the special use permit.

“We need a specific list of violations,” said Simon. “We should have that by the next meeting so we can act on it.”

The council could issue a decision when it meets Aug. 11.