SPRINGVILLE—The owner of 37 S. Central Ave. has until Sept. 1 to fix nine issues outlined in a notice of remedy sent by the Village of Springville on May 8. Steve Weber, who owns the property, also has 14 days to complete temporary structure support.
The Village Board of Trustees passed a resolution with the timeline on June 18, following a public hearing regarding the property. The building will also need to be inhabited by Oct. 1.
“You, sir, have put us in a very difficult position,” Mayor William Krebs said to Weber. “The building is falling apart, there are pieces of it on the lawn. The reason it got that way is because you neglected it for a very long time.”
Deemed “unsafe, unhealthy and a nuisance” by Code Enforcement Officer Mike Kaleta, both the house and garage on the property were added to the village’s distressed property list. The village has tried to contact Weber since 2016, including letters sent notifying him of court appearances. A public hearing is the last step before the municipality can begin the process of remedying or demolishing the structures.
“I love Springville. I lived here for 17 years,” Weber said. “I want to get this done, it will be repaired … I will fix everything that needs to be fixed.”
Members of the board expressed their skepticism of Weber’s plans to fix the property, noting he has done nothing aside from mow the lawn for years.
“I’m the last person who wants to tear down a building … I’ve lived here since ‘91 there hasn’t been a coat of paint on that building since then … that property has been an eye sore for a long time,” Trustee Alan Chamberlain said. “[The board] has not been presented a remedy at this point. I’m not convinced.”
A broken back, car accident, a worksite with chemical leaks and a contractor with early onset dementia, Weber said, halted him from addressing the issues. Aside from Monday’s meeting, Weber only visited the property this year in January. He did not think the structure was “that bad.”
“I broke my back … I couldn’t do anything,” Weber said. “That’s my situation … I couldn’t travel, I was very dizzy. What could I do?”
The contractor Weber had lined up to complete work, he said, had early onset dementia and wasn’t able to perform the work. Weber said he had another contractor lined up, though he was unable to produce a name when asked by the board.
Attorney Paul Weiss said the village received a letter from Weber’s doctor March 8, stating Weber had broken his back and couldn’t travel for a month. In April and May, Weber was notified to appear to court, but did not show or send notification. Weiss asked if Weber would like to use projects he’s worked on in Rochester as evidence of good faith of ability to be able to do something with 37 S. Central Ave.
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” Weber responded.
While working in Rochester, during the same time frame he was being notified by the Village of Springville, Weber said his contractor was supposed to be putting the roof on the South Central Avenue property. He later found out the contractor had dementia. He has another contractor lined up, he said, but could not recall his name when asked by the board.
“You remind me of the student who says ‘I didn’t bring my homework in’ and then gives a list of reasons that are all fictitious,” Krebs said. “Mr. Weber, I’m a little upset. I represent the people of Springville, who have seen your building decay. If you can’t understand why I’d be upset with you ignoring all these notices … then coming to Springville … with a contractor whose name you can’t remember ... that’s just unacceptable.”
Weber was accompanied by structural engineer AJ Petrilli, who owns Petrilli Engineering. The two walked through both buildings on the property prior to the meeting.
“What is assessed I would generally agree with, it’s a little dangerous right now,” Petrilli said. “The first floor is spongy, the second floor is spongy. I’ve known Mr. Weber for about a year … he’s expressed how much he wants to fix the building.”
He estimated structural repairs and replacing the roof would cost between $30,000 and $40,000, but feels the building can be saved.
“I’m a bit familiar with the construction industry. You’re probably looking at [two weeks] for engineer drawings, then you’re going to look for a contractor. It’s July, you know of any contractor sitting around waiting for work right now? If you do, it’s probably not a contractor you want to work with,” Chamberlain said. “So now we’re looking at September or October and I’m still looking at a blue tarp on the top of the roof. Explain to me why I shouldn’t tear this building down.”
Trustee Nils Wikman said he does not believe Weber will finish the work, given his track record of neglect.
“Structurally … nothing has been done to that building [in 21 years] and I think the only reason you’re here is because the threat of demolition and you’re trying to buy some time,” Wikman said. “What about the last 21 years? Why have we not addressed that in 21 years?”
Weber asked the board to give him a chance to fix the building.
“I will fix the building and you will be proud,” Weber said.
The resolution passed gives Weber 7 days from June 18 to produce a performance bond no less than $60,000 and have a professional structural engineer certify the building can be made structural safe. He has two weeks to put temporary support structures in the building and secure the worksite. All nine issues, which include structural support and electrical, need to be addressed by Sept. 1 and the owner comply with village code 77-3 by Oct. 1, by having tenants in the building.
The performance bond requires Weber to put $60,000 in escrow, which will be held by the Village. If any of the conditions are not met, Weber forfeits the money. Village code 77-3 states a building left vacant is considered unsafe.