Batavia Making Plans to Enforce Upkeep of Historic Buildings
Byline: Susan Sarkauskas firstname.lastname@example.org
A Batavia panel Tuesday informally agreed with a plan to encourage owners of historic buildings to keep them up, rather than neglecting them to death.
That encouragement could start off "soft and gentle," in the words of Jerry Swanson, community development director. But it could ultimately end up being a big stick.
The community development committee had asked staff to research options last month, in the wake of the proposed demolition of the Batavia Bowl building on First Street. In that case, a prospective owner persuaded city officials that 20 or more years of neglect, inside and out, ruined the building beyond reasonable cost to repair.
Swanson is proposing that the city send a letter to the owners of at least 68 properties in the towns only historic district, notifying the property owners that the city is beginning an enhanced code compliance program, and that they would like their cooperation in not letting the buildings fall in to disrepair.
City inspectors would evaluate the exterior of the buildings. Mainly, they would be concerned about roofs, fascia, masonry and windows all places where water can enter.
"Water is the number one cause of structural and other deterioration, ultimately leading to the kinds of conditions we saw with the Batavia Bowl," Swanson said. …