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City inspector sells house called unsafe

The Orchard Park house in disrepair owned by a Buffalo building inspector is being sold.

Neighbor Michael Capriotto confirmed he is buying the house at 7089 E. Quaker Road (Route 20A) from Richard Balesteri.

The house had fallen into disrepair, with a sagging roof that was opened up for an expansion. A tarp is draped over the roof on the street side, and there is an open soffit and crumbling steps.

The house has been deemed dangerous and/or unsafe, and the Town Board has scheduled a public hearing at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 as a preliminary step to possible demolition.

Balesteri, who has worked for the City of Buffalo since 1999, said he feels badly about the state of the house, which he said is structurally sound. He said the repairs got away from him.

"Part of it is my mistake for not getting the permits when I should have," he said.

Orchard Park Supervising Building Inspector Andrew Geist found Balesteri working on the house in April, and told him he needed a building permit. A stop work order was issued.

Balesteri said he was waiting for an architect to stamp plans for the addition so he could submit them for the permit.

He said he has fixed up many houses in the past, and had always planned to expand the house and then sell it. Now he will leave the work for Capriotto, who is ready to get to work.

"As soon as I close on it, it will be brought up to code," Capriotto said.

Balesteri bought the house 21 years ago. He is living in Buffalo, and the Orchard Park house has been vacant for a number of years.

He said he is attentive to his job, and embarrassed that his house has run afoul of Orchard Park building requirements.

"It hurt my reputation," he said. "That's what hurt the most."

Orchard Park Town Attorney Leonard Berkowitz said the property had been served with a notice of being an unsafe building, and the town has been trying to serve Balesteri personally, but has not been able to locate him.

He complained that the Buffalo inspections office would not tell the town where Balesteri is so it could serve the papers.

"To me, it's a moot point. It's sold, it's done with," Balesteri said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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