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Village frustrated by inaction at building

The owner of a century-old building at the Village of Hamburg's most important intersection has been charged with not keeping up the property.

The village has been hoping the brick building at 12 Main St. near the Main-Buffalo Street intersection will be renovated and reopened.

But it has a long way to go. Some windows have been boarded and some have been open to the elements for months. Work has started and stopped several times at the building, which has been designated a local landmark.

The village declared the building unsafe in October 2009, due to problems with the foundation, structural steel work and masonry. It has since been stabilized, but other hoped-for improvements have not been made.

"We're compelled to take these actions," said Kurt Allen, supervising building inspector for the Village and Town of Hamburg. "We're more than two years into this, and the building is not getting any better maintained."

The building was purchased in November 2008 by 12 Main St. LLC, and has one principal owner, East Aurora dentist R. Scott Westermeier, Allen said.

It has become a nuisance, he added. Property maintenance violations, as well as state fire code violations have been filed against the owner, Allen said.

"We don't want to visit this situation in the fall like we've had to in the past. We want to give the owner time to respond," Allen said.

He said the location of the building, "front and center in the village," is a constant reminder to the village to do something about it.

Allen has called the building Hamburg's version of Statler Towers, but he said there is a difference. The Statler was in bankruptcy court.

"This building is under ownership, it's not a bankrupt property, and with ownership comes responsibility to properly maintain the building," Allen said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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