Penn Yan officials want houses razed

Gwen Chamberlain

Penn Yan Village officials are putting pressure on Lake Street Plaza owner Demetrius Pappan to demolish three houses on Lake Street along with one on Kimble Avenue and one on Brown Street.

The houses have been vacant for more than a year and a half, and village officials have received a number of complaints about them. At the February Penn Yan Planning Board meeting, Pappan assured Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Lyon and the board that the houses will be torn down at the same time demolition at the plaza begins for the construction of the proposed Peebles Department Store.

A 30 day warning period tied to a notice of violation expired on Saturday, Feb. 16, according to Lyon, who told the village board he did receive a telephone call when he sent the company a second letter with a demolition application. But he’s heard nothing from the company since then.

Lyon says typically, the next step in the process is to give the company an appearance ticket, but he’s not able to do that since the company is based outside New York State. The company, Seancony, is based in Aliquippa, Pa.

“I’ve been trying to work with them on these projects. I can understand their situation, but I also understand the board and the people want them down because they are an eyesore,” Lyons told the village board at last week’s regular board meeting.

The board agreed the next step should be to send a letter from the village.

There was a brief discussion of the possibility of the village condemning the property and demolishing the houses.

“I want the houses gone as much as anybody, but the village tearing down houses scares me,” said Mayor Douglas Marchionda Jr.

Village Attorney Ed Brockman said, “My opinion is they are dragging their feet.” He said he would not want the village to get into the demolition business because of asbestos.

In another matter related to the Lake Street Plaza, Marchionda said the village has received a letter from Seancony representative Jeff Jones in support of making Kimball Avenue from the plaza to Sunset Avenue a one way “exit only” street with a six ton weight limit.

Residents from the Sunset Avenue neighborhood also submitted a petition requesting the same action.

Other items on the village board’s agenda included:

• EXECUTIVE SESSION: The board entered executive session at 8:15 p.m. to discuss management matters in the police department, duties of personnel in the police department and legal matters. The board took no action following the session.

• BASIN STREET BUILDING: The board approved listing the former police station on Basin Street for sale. Finance committee chairman Robert Church said there is a potential buyer for the property.

• TRUCK WEIGHTS: Trustee Willie Allison said officials from the New York State Department of Transportation have requested a meeting with village officials about posting weight limits on village streets. Allison said the state officials also want the village to designate North Avenue as a truck route.

• NORTH CENTRAL FIREMAN’S CONVENTION: The board unanimously approved a request from the Yates County Volunteer Fireman’s Association to hold a parade during the convention on June 7.

• RELAY FOR LIFE: The board approved a request for Relay for Life activities on May 1 and June 6 and 7.

• ANNEXATION: The board unanimously approved annexing properties at 2421 Old Bath Road and 1841 North Main Street into the village. The Old Bath Road property is owned by David Reeve, who plans housing on the property. The North Main Street property is part of the property for the future Community Center.

• SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM: The board unanimously approved raising the fee charged to property owners for the sidewalk improvement program to $4.25 per sq. ft. from $2.50 per sq. ft. Property owners can find out more about the program by contacting the village office.

• STREETS: Allison gave information about some of the more costly streets projects he expects to see in the near future, including a culvert on Clinton Street that could cost $350,000 to repair or $565,000 to replace. He also said a drainage pipe in the Elm Street Sports Complex is deteriorating and could cost up to $165,000 to repair.

• SEWER INFILTRATION: Allison also said storm water is stressing the waste water treatment plant. He said village residents need to direct downspouts and sump pumps to the street for drainage rather than the waste water system. He said on a rainy day 6 million gallons of water has gone through the waste water treatment plant, while on a typical day, the plant handles 1 million gallons.

• EQUIPMENT AND VEHICLES: Former fire chief Bart Winslow thanked the board for it support in buying the new fire truck, which arrived recently.

The truck it is replacing will be sold to the Rushville Fire Department. The board agreed to declare the Fire Chief’s vehicle surplus and advertise it for sale. The board also agreed to put a loader out to bid for replacement.

The village paid $109,000 for the loader last year. It’s expected to sell for $120,000, and the village will receive half the profit from its sale. A new loader will cost $109,000.

The board’s next regular meeting will be Tuesday, March 18.