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Officials say developer is afoul of rules

The developer of a controversial flea market on Big Tree Road in Wales is running afoul of Wales regulations once again, town officials said Tuesday night.

Russ Scheerer has converted a building lot next to his Auctions International site on Big Tree into two building lots -- both of them illegal, officials said. The two lots have frontage of 180 feet and 200 feet, and the minimum lot frontage in the town is 250 feet.

Scheerer, who lives in Cheektowaga, also had connected one of these lots to the auction site, officials said.

The auction operator has been notified by Town Attorney Ronald Bennett and Building Inspector Walter Raichel Jr. that he must reverse his actions through the Erie County Real Property Services, officials said.

Supervisor Rickey Venditti said during the work session in South Wales that assessors are notified "after the fact" by Real Property Services that a new lot has been created, leaving it up to the towns to decide whether it is legal.

Some residents, officials have said, are complaining that Scheerer's property looks like "a war zone" and are asking why nothing was built by Scheerer last summer, as promised. After several meetings and hearings, the board had awarded him a special-use permit with 22 conditions.

The most common complaint from residents, officials said, is that there are more used cars on the site than the 10 allowed under the special-use permit.

Venditti said Raichel has learned Scheerer is spending money fixing up a house on the site instead of putting it into the building project.

Venditti also noted Raichel "has his hands full" with Scheerer.

"We as a board had a lot of faith in Scheerer," he added. "We thought his project would be a benefit to the town, but it is going nowhere."

Another bone of contention is the auction owner's intentions to install a $25,000 electronic sign at the site that also would conflict with town code.

The sign issue will be discussed when the board meets May 8.

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