The vote is final: The Wiss Hotel building will come down
Many of the supporters of restoring the Wiss Hotel building on Main Street in Le Roy walked out of Wednesday's village board meeting saying "their minds were made up."
Mike Tucci, Robert Taylor and Jim Bonacquisti all voted to demolish what may be Le Roy's oldest standing commercial building, even though over the past several months, two architects, three contractors and a code enforcement officer all toured the building and said it could be saved.
"They kept moving the goal posts," Trustee Jennifer Keys said after the meeting.
By her calculation, the $132,000 Tucci, Taylor and Bonacquisti voted to expend on destruction of the Wiss equals 8.5 years of the village's community swimming pool fund.
The fee paid to Empire Dismantlement will be pulled from the village reserve fund, according to Mayor Greg Rogers, who, along with Keys, voted no on Bonacquisti's motion to destroy the Wiss.
On Monday, the Le Roy, New York LLC submitted its fifth revised offer to purchase the building so it could be saved and restored.
The new offer answered many of the objects raised by Tucci, Taylor and Bonacquisti.
The offer was written by village resident and Buffalo attorney Chandy Kemp.
"We did everything that was suggested to us to make our offer more appealing," Kemp said. "We identified the parties (of the LLC). We told them where the money was going to come from. We eliminated some of the contingencies. We gave plans about what we intended to do with the property. And they still shot it down. I’m not sure what more we could have done."
At one point, Kemp and her husband, Chris, were thinking of buying the building themselves in order to sidestep any distrust the trustees might have of the LLC. But after touring the building themselves, they realized saving it would be just too much work to take on by themselves, so they joined the LLC.
"I don't think an offer Chris and I would have submitted independent of the LLC, I don't think now, it would be much different," Kemp said. "I'm not convinced we would have been successful. I'm thinking a lot of this, maybe the decision was made a year ago, and a lot of this was just running around until the bids for demolition came in and they knew how much it was going to cost and that just sealed it."
The latest offer also contained the promise of a $500,000 performance bond.
Tucci, Taylor and Bonacquisti all said they respected the hard work of the LLC, that they each gave the issue a lot of thought -- Bonacquisti said he lost sleep over it -- but in the end, tearing the Wiss down was "the right decision."
"In the last 20 years we’ve taken the Sterling Diner down, Vic Bloods has come down, the Millman block has come down, but all Main Street hasn’t come down," Bonacquisti said. "Not only did we survive those buildings coming down, but we’ve gotten better."
Tucci read a prepared statement:
I do have upmost respect for everyone associated with the Le Roy New York LLC. I do appreciate all of their hard work and dedication as to wanting to save this building and make something better of it. They have a passion for Main Street that I hope carries on after this vote. I realize not every one agrees with me with my decision to take it down but I do believe it’s in the best interest of the village. I can only hope people respect my decision and know it’s come with a lot of thought.
Taylor spoke about his 72 years of living in the village and the many hours of his life spent enjoyably at the Wiss, and that he's spoken to a lot of people about the issue.
"My personal opinion, the LLC just picked the wrong building," Taylor said.
Bonacquisti said, "the time for the Wiss has come," and that whatever replaces it will be better.
What replaces it is a complete unknown at this point, though, a point Louis Buono, a supporter of the LLC and owner of the McDonald's franchise in Le Roy, raised later in the meeting.
"There’s not been a plan in place; there’s not been an idea proposed; yet, you ask the LLC over and over againt to formalize a plan which could produce many opportunities here in this village, and yet we’ve heard nothing other than we will demolish the building," Buono said.
"In respect for the other people who spoke in support of saving it," Buono added, "I believe you owe it to the community to explain -- what do you plan to do with that property? -- and not just a commitment saying ‘we will do our best,’ but what is your plan?"
Rogers admitted there is no plan, but by the second meeting in April, the trustees will have a better idea of what will be done going forward.
Previously during the meeting, Rogers said the trustees now have a responsibility to protect the character of the village.
"It's the village board's responsibility to take care of that corner and put something there that makes sense and doesn't destroy the character of this village," Rogers said. "That's our responsibility. That's the five people who sit on this board, that's their responsibility. You have my word that I will work extremely hard not to be an embarrassment. It's a job I take very seriously."
What comes next is the biggest fear the preservationists have.
"All I’m hearing the board talk about is memories of what it was," said David Damico, a graphic artist who moved to Le Roy in 2008 and is concerned about the village losing its identity. "None of them seem to have any foresight as to what it could be. I think maybe it takes a new person to see that. I want to see this community grow and if we’re tearing everything down, I don’t see how that’s going to happen."
Many fear another Walgreens-type of development, which Selby Davis says, "maimed" the northwest corner of Main and Lake streets.
"It's now something we can do nothing about," she said.
That's also the fear of Chandy Kemp.
"My first reaction is fear," Kemp said. "I'm still afraid of the slippery slope. I trust the mayor and believe and trust his word that he wants to preserve Main Street, but I'm not sure that can be said of the others in the village who may have dollar signs in their eyes. That's my biggest concern, that this is the first step toward major demolition of Main Street, and that's something I would hate to see."
Tearing down the Wiss Is crazy..Here's my crazy .Rip down everything from the Wiss down to the post office.Then continue right down Mill street to the Train tressle ,up from there to the old Dargan Hotel.
From this point we can build a major league sports facilty that runs between the Oatka Creek and route 5
Call them the Le Roy losers and say It all ended with a 3-2 decision.
The place was an eye sore and a derelict wreck, besides a safety hazard. The powers to be made the correct decision.
I want to know from Mr Taylor why in a free market he is picking and choosing what building is OK to buy and what building is "wrong". That sounds a lot like a very menacing and overreaching local government picking winners and losers to me.
From Howard's reporting on the Wiss over the months, I believe the pros/cons were analyzed with enough rigor to make an informed decision. This issue was contentious enough to guarantee not everyone would be happy with the result. Others outside the LLC who were emotional about this could've joined the LLC and ponyed up some $$ to bolster their cause....but that didn't happen. So down it goes....correct decision made.
I love history and think if at all possible it needs to be preserved. At least I will always have the memories of playing the Video Game Asteroids there at the Wiss when I got off work as a gas station attendant at the old W.W. Griffith Gas station(1980 and 1981). When ever I come home on vacation I purposely drive down Main Street to relive memories and those memories are getting fewer and farther between now. I fear that soon I won't recognize the town I was born and raised in.
My advice to LeRoyans is to tear your Main Street down and put up a mall as Batavia did. Then you can have visitors ask "Is that a prison you have in the center of your city?"
Don, my epiphany came when a former teacher came back for a visit after relocating to the south ten years ago after retiring. I ran into him and his wife at the McDonald's park bench. He kept saying to me (and I parpaphrase) "What is happening here? This Main Street has deteriorated so much." His comments gave me pause.
We don't see it every day, but people that have left and then come back see the decay and neglect.
We need to start somewhere and the LeRoy LLC was willing to start with The Wiss. What could be more American than that? A building in decay with a group of people willing to invest and turn it around. While I was not an investor (starving artist) I was involved with the group. The interest to invest was growing, with many individuals coming on board with so many different backgrounds and so much to offer. This was a real grassroots effort to take this project on and hopefully see it bare fruit.
For this board to not even give this group the chance I think is the real tragedy. The LLC might have failed as with all risks, but now we will never know because they were denied.
Actually the figures I ran were; $132,000 demolition price + $20,000 for the air quality study that will have to be conducted at the same time and is separate from the demo price + $4,000 for the asbestos survey = $156,000 which is 8.5 years of our current expenses on the pool, which was almost as big a fight as this was because no one wanted to spend any money on it.
An "eye sore" is a personal opinion, legitimate, but an opinion. The facts are that 2 architects, an engineer, 3 contractors, and the code enforcement officer from Batavia said it is sound and remediable, and three of them went through the building in the last 3 weeks. So, when given the choice between accepting $10,000 and returning it to the tax roles (a concrete plan) and spending $156,000 (let's hope there's no hidden costs as there are often are in such projects) the majority voted to spend. An eye sore can be fixed. A building torn down is gone forever.
Let's look at this logically. If that property were truly redeemable, the county would have never given it to the village to deal with. If that building was truly valuable, why did no one attempt to purchase it? It was for sale for a good number of years. I am glad something is being done with it. Now, let's get the state in on this, and widen the intersection.
BTW, I think that opening up the eastward view of Main St is going to be a good thing. As it sits now, there is no view of the school campus or the creek from that point.
Jerry, while I've clearly had my own personal opinion on this matter, I've tried to make sure that all points of view received an equal opportunity to be expressed through articles and comments, and I take it that you recognize that, so thank you. I would like to think that all relevant facts and opinions have been reflected in the coverage and if the coverage leads you to the opinion that the building should come down, then I've done my job insomuch as the "tear-down" arguments were fairly reflected.
As for others putting forward money, I take the remarks from Chandy, as quoted in this article, that the board was presented with an offer that revealed the people pledging funds to the LLC sufficient to deal with the building. There was also the matter of the $500,000 performance bound to protect the village.
Bud, the whole point of the LLC was members of the community pooling their resources in a way that mitigated individual risk and to address the fact that no individual investor was likely to step forward on such a risk. Yes, the project was a risk, but the fact that no individual investor stepped forward is hardly a logical reason to reject the LLC offer or does it bolster any notion that the building couldn't be saved. There were plenty of people expert in the field who said it could be saved. Whether the building is an eyesore is a matter of opinion. Whether it could be saved, while not guaranteed, was at least backed by enough expert, informed opinion, that the argument that it couldn't be saved is rather moot.
It's highly unlikely that the state is going to take on a widening project anytime soon. It's not on their radar from what Tim Hens has said. So what you're going to have is a vacant corner for a good long time, most likely, full of weeds, unless the village is going to expend tax dollars to put in grass and maintain it. Next, most likely, comes a developer who will find the lot (with the DOT's right of way no longer grandfathered in) too small for development and only be interested in developing it if surrounding lots are bought and those structures torn down. That's most logical sequence of events we can expect precipitated by this decision. Unless there's some leadership to ensure new development is in keeping and character of the village, then future development of that corner will likely be destructive to the village character. Mayor Rogers can promise to fight against out-of-character development, but the fact that Walgreens exists as it does (and that some argue Walgreens was a positive move) makes one rather pessimistic that he will be successful in that fight.
"I am glad something is being done with it." The LLC was going to do something with it, too.
I have a few suggestions for the Wiss supporters. If you are really willing to invest $1 million in such a high-risk project, why not take $200,000 and buy one of the neighboring properties. This would block any big-box developers and you could make improvements to the property to show what could really be done on main street. Another suggestion would be to buy the property from the village once the Wiss is down and build a smaller two story version of the building similar to the one in the pictures you have been posting.
Well, Jim, as you've stated before your building is for sale for $125,000. Maybe you'll get that sale after all.
Please excuse my sarcasm, but since when do we as a community tell others how to or not to spend their money? The only thing that should be at issue here or throughout this entire process is if it is appropriate for the village to spend tax payer dollars to demolish a building that has a legitimate purchase offer made on it or sell it and allow the market/capitalism/community to take care of it themselves.
It does appear to be clear, though, that it does not matter how many experts one has compared to people who admit to not being experts, the decisions are still made based on emotion, not fact. Ironic since that is something I have often been accused of throughout my professional life as a social worker and within this debate.
With any luck this will not deter future dreamers from coming forward as dreamers are what makes the world go around.
Bud, I feel compelled to clear this up as you are not the only one to state this in recent days (hours), the county never took posession of this building.
The village took it over in approximately November 2011 when it was apparent that everything was stalemated. Since that time experts have been in it to state it is remediable and investors came forward.
I don't know, but it would be interesting to know, if the county sent any experts into the building when they voted unanimously that it was not worth it.
A question I have asked in the past is exactly when is a good time for people with money to step forward to take on a project such as this? I'm still waiting for an answer from anyone at all.
I was just trying to be helpful here Jennifer. I don't think you clearly understand that no matter how many experts say that building could be saved you still need a structural engineer to do an inspection under the New York State building and fire code. The building must pass that inspection before you can get a building permit. The LLC was not willing to pay for that inspection until they took possession of the building.
Why would any investor pay for an expensive analysis when A) they don't own the building; and B) there's no guarantee that if the building got a clean bill of health those currently in control of the title would be willing to sell it? It makes no sense.
Oh My God Jim, don't do it man !!!! Don't go throwing out FACTS like that !! I've tried and no one would listen. Both parties are at fault for not getting this done at some point. Had a structural inspection beeen done, the debate would be over. Instead we'll never know if the Wiss was salvageable or not until the demolition is done. The cart was put before the horse.
Jim, there was never an attempt to even negotiate that part. If it was part of the issue in voting against selling then it could have been addressed.
Thank you for your help. I don't want to speak for the LLC as I am not a member, but my observation is that it would be more helpful if you were in support of preserving Main Street than against.
Jennifer, I am employed by the LeRoy historical society. Just because I want to see a building that is both a health hazard and a fire hazard be demolished does not mean I am against preserving Main street.
Howard, what does not make sense is buying a property especially a distressed property without having an inspection done before the purchase. If something is wrong then you can walk away and cut your losses.
In my opinion, what doesn't make sense is not giving it an opportunity to succeed instead of assuming that it will fail. Just a different way of looking at things. There is a lengthy history of standing in the way and assuming failure. If I did that as a social worker I would no longer have a job. I also would be bitter rather than cynical and probably live on a mountaintop by myself with my dogs.
Dreamers are what makes the world go round.
Jennifer, I forgot to mention that it was my administration that got the $250,000 New York Main Street grant.
Fact, there was a legitimate offer on the table to purchase from invested people who were willing to negotiate.
Fact, it was deemed stable by people who are experts and who were also invested in making the project work.
Fact, this could have been resolved as early as last November.
Fact, instead of negotiating or accepting the LLC's offer a vote to expend tax payer dollars to demolish was successful.
Fact, that demolition vote was for demolition without asbestos abatement.
Fact, as long as there are no more hidden costs at the current rate we pay as village tax payers the money that will be spent to demolish is the equivalent of what we will spend on the pool for 8.5 years.
Fact, there is no plan for what comes next.
Fact, in the past the comprehensive plan has been ignored.
Howard, Thanks for your great coverage throughout this whole process. Having worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer for the past three years, I learned firsthand what it is like to work in a restored 1830's building. It is with great sadness that I learn about the village board decision to demolish the Wiss and destroy the possibility of what it might have become. I still fail to understand how the board can forego a reasonable offer for the Wiss and instead choose to waste taxpayer money to create a vacant lot destined to shrink in size as a result of a DOT lien with no reasonable plan of their own despite having three years to come up with one. The only rationale offered was that this was the right thing to do. I think we are at least owed an explanation of why this is the right thing to do and what the board plans. The board plans to START thinking about a plan. I think it is a little late for this. I am grateful that we have two thoughtful and reasonable village board members who were willing to give private enterprise a chance to turn around the deterioration of Main Street. Too bad an election is not anywhere near. In my opinion, the best interests of the village are not being served by this board.
IF the LLC had taken ownership of the Wiss, and IF it failed the engineering study, what would the LLC have done with it? Was the village worried about it getting abandoned
Jim, I think Jennifer responded well.
Let's say the LLC had been given a chance to buy the building. And let's say they applied for the appropriate permits, which would necessitate a structural analysis. Let's say that analysis came back and said, "can't be saved."
The LLC would have been out some money. Isn't that their right as Americans -- to take a risk and suffer a lose? At what point is that any of the government's business, or your business (if you're not an investor yourself). (I also think that if that had been the outcome, the LLC would have picked itself up, dusted itself off and picked another project with the same energy and vigor, but this result, I fear, human nature being what it is, may be a discouragement that will kill forever the idea of a Rick Hauser-like LLC in Le Roy.)
You say the building was a health and safety hazard. That's your opinion. It's not an opinion shared by the experts who actually did a visual assessment of the building.
If the LLC offer had been accepted and it was determined the building needed to come down anyway, there would be no different outcome than what we're having now, except that at least some people who wanted to try and do something positive for the community would have been giving the chance.
it will baffle me forever as to why they weren't given that chance. The fact that some people think it's an eyesore is no reason not to give them a chance, because "eyesore" is just a matter of opinion; the fact that people without the expertise to make the judgement think it's a hazard or can't be saved is no reason not to give them a chance because the actual experts disagree and it's a question that can only be reached as a definitive answer by giving them a chance; the fact that some people are of the opinion that their business plan won't work is no reason not to give them a chance because the American way is one that allows entrepreneurial minded people to take risks and the village suffers no lose if the LLC had failed as a business.
I've said it before, I've yet to hear one reasonable, logically sound argument as that answers the question: why not give the LLC a chance?
Dan, the one thing that never really came out, nobody ever addressed, and perhaps Jennifer knows, is what would have happened if the building had to come down after the LLC obtained ownership. To me, if you're the LLC, you assume that risk, but it also could have been a point negotiated.
If village was going to expend the money anyway, no skin off the nose of the village if the LLC deeds it back for demolition.
On the other hand, and perhaps Jennifer knows, would the $500K performance bond had covered this scenario?
BTW: At least we all care enough as a community to debate this issue, even after it's decided. Thanks to all who have participated in the debate on The Batavian, even if we haven't always agreed and even got a little pointed at times.
It's been heartening that so many voices have weighed in on this issue and the trash issue.
Ah I see. If I read that correctly, it's sounds like the village would have been back on the hook to pay for the demolition if it had been deemed unsaveable. Would the LLC have been responsible during that time if something happened, like someone getting hurt there? Or would that have been on the villages shoulders as well?
Lets be honest about this Howard, your creation of The Batavian has provided a forum for debate that this region never had before.
Let alone the closest outlet of true jounalism that I have ever seen. All sides are reported on and allowed to state their sides equaly. Factual reporting is all I ever wanted out of a news outlet. The Batavian is the only place I have found it.
Opinions belong right there they are here, in comments section, not the news article.
Thank you Howard for your service to the region.
Everyone take this as it is intended, I have no reson to kiss a dark and unsanitary place. 3 cheers for The Batavian!
Thanks, Scott. Not everybody likes what we do or how we do it, but a lot of people do and it's good to know.
Dan, I'm not lawyer, but I play one in the comments section (but if I remember correctly, the lawyers involved (such as Fussell and Kemp) discussed this and we covered it (I could look it up, but wont ) ... once the LLC obtained title, safety was the LLC's legal liability, not the village's.
One of Jim B.'s arguments was that he would feel horrible if the village sold the Wiss and somebody got hurt later, but that's a personal response, not a legal liability.
As a matter of dollars and sense, if the LLC owned the building, they were wholly responsible for it.
What I was trying to explain about responsibility for destruction: If the LLC owned it and it needed to come down, I would think that would be the LLC's responsibility. However, I would expect the village to negotiate on that point, because if the LLC ran out of money or just stopped paying/performing, it's conceivable the village wouldn't re-obtain title until enough years of unpaid taxes amassed. Nobody would want that, so ... and maybe, that's where the performance bond comes in (but I didn't get a chance (since it only came up last night as is more of a footnote at this point) to get an explanation. But I would think the performance bond would mean an insurance company (issuer of the bond) would be on the hook for demolition in a non-performance situation.
That is a topic that in all the talk about the Wiss was never really hashed out in a public way, as far as I know or can remember.
There were provisions in each offer to address this. They were put in with consultation from the village's attorney. So, those who voted to demolish could have still been worried about this, but it was addressed with no further mention and again, the LLC was willing to negotiate to address concerns brought forward.
Yeah, what he said.
Howard has it right. He's been following and reporting on this accurately.
Again, yeah, what he said.
I want a nice brick to remember the building!..There should be a way to sell some bricks and then donate $ to a charity?
Sorry Douglas, no bricks, it's a wooden building.
The brick is a facade, Doug, but there was concern that some might fall off, so maybe you could actually get one.
It's a half-brick facade.
Remember, the building was once covered in tin -- the tin facade was never removed from the east side of the building ... maybe snip of that would be cool to have ...
However, since demolition will be "hot" there will probably be no opportunity for any souvenir collecting.
Sad. It seems like government forcing their will again, without letting the community decide. Sounds like a good representative government to me.
I think it's hysterical that when a private group wants to try and save something, not a government agency, they were rebuked. I've read this all right along, and I have not heard one good argument to not allow the group to try.
It sounds like the will of the few is more important than the many.
Again, sad. And the best about all of this is, there is no plan to make the space functional.
What a joke.
Did you miss the quote about making it into a park with picnic tables Phil? I can think of nowhere I would rather go for a nice picnic than the corner of routes 5 and 19 with the lovely view of Walgreens.
Come on Beth, you can count the passing cars and trucks while relaxing to 'Accelerating Sounds'
Jennifer, I hope you still feel the same way about the community not telling others how to spend their money when a developer offers me three times the amount for my building than it's worth.
Jim, sell your property to whomever you like, so long as what they want to build conforms to design standards for the village.
And hopefully those design standards conform to the village character.
It's not just about old buildings. It's about mixed-use, high-density development, something the village forgot about in approving Walgreens.
I'm not really up on what master plan is place in this regard, but if Le Roy keeps knocking down it's old buildings in favor of developments like Walgreens, it's not going to have a very happy economic future and it's going to destroy its most valuable asset.
I'd be much more comfortable with the Wiss coming down if I knew that what comes next isn't another Walgreens like development.
Howard, Walgreens does conform to the village standards; if it didn't, it couldn't have been built. Walgreens is a valuable asset to the village; it supplies jobs , tax revenue, and needed services for people like me who walk instead of drive everywhere. It replaced buildings that were no longer viable and that no one wanted. This is the current problem with other buildings, not only in LeRoy but other villages. People want to talk about these buildings, but they don't want to buy them or take care of them before they become unsafe. The Wiss had been in obvious decline for many years.
No, I won't "feel" the same way, but it really won't matter will it because free enterprise dictates you get to sell.
Unfortunately, that really is the bottom line isn't it?! The corner will be open so now a developer can come in and destroy Main Street because our community has a history of not following the comprehensive plan.
New development belongs on the outskirts, not on Main Street. If you read my blog you would know that I have thought that way since I was a toddler, that's not likely to change. Main Street can IN FACT be fitted to meet needs in it's current state. In recent weeks I have been to Geneseo, Mt. Morris and Angelica. In recent months I have been to Brockport and Perry. It's mind blowing that successful examples of this type of revitalization in our area abound yet "we" "can't" do it here.
And really isn't that what the vocal majority have said all along? They want the Wiss saved, but barring that they want to know the plan and they want it to be in keeping with the quaintness of our Main Street.
Once buildings are torn down they are gone forever!
I'd like to point out that, while we clearly don't need one because we have a lovely local coffee shop, Starbucks is a gigantic corporation that does NOT demolish, instead they take over what is already there and fit it to their needs. When has anyone every been in a newly built Starbucks which wasn't a kiosk inside a larger store (BTW: they are only loosely affiliated with the corporation)?
Others could do that if they so chose to.
Jim, The Village Comprehensive Plan states that new builds should comply with the surrounding area. That building is built back from the corner with parking in front. That is not in compliance with what the community wants.
Nice job Howard on covering this event. Having grown up in Le Roy, I remember what a pretty little community it used to be. The worst thing that happened there was that ugly McDonalds stuck right in the middle of everything. An eyesore and nutritional nightmare for the community. One would think preservation of the face of the village would be the primary goal of every member of the community. If people were willing to invest in the Wiss, with no loss to the village, why on earth not let them try? Looking in from the outside, it appears that a few people did not ever want them to succeed. Maybe jealousy played a roll in everything? The human factor may have been at play here? Two things for sure in the outcome of all this. Politics over peoples' will, once again and an ugly vacant lot stuck in a prime location for years to come, no doubt because of lack of a plan for the spot. I agree with Jennifer that there are some beautiful little villages that have preserved their main streets. The wife and I have been to most of them and it gives you such a warm feeling of being transported back in time.Unfortunately, that will never be the case for Le Roy. I agree, the proposal to restore the Wiss was a lost cause from day one. Closed minded people with their own ideas on how things should and would go down. It is impossible to find logic where there is none! It will be interesting to see who benefits in the end from tearing down the Wiss. My guess is, it won't be Le Roy, as a village. RIP ol' main street.
The point was made above that "what a great place to put a park and have a picnic, with all the passing cars". The same applies as far as living there in my opinion. Who in their right mind would want to live on that corner, much less someone who could afford a "high end" apartment. Also if the village would have been back on the hook to demolish it IF it failed the engineering study, what advantage is there for the town to wait? Usually a buyer has those inspections done before purchasing a property, not after. In theory the demolition would cost more in the future. I would be interested to know the rental rates and occupancy of the rental properties in the area around that intersection, as there are a lot of them.
Jim, let's stipulate that what was on the northwest corner before Walgreens had to come down. The demolition was just months before I came to town, so I have no opinion one way or another on whether demolition was necessary. It's really a moot point.
The discussion isn't about what was there before vs. Walgreens. It's Walgreens vs. what should be there now.
See Jennifer's #44 comment on the comprehensive plan, which pretty well demonstrates Walgreens is out of compliance.
But, again, that's really a moot point for the primary discussion.
Walgreens, regardless of what was there before, or whether if violates the comprehensive plan, is an economic disaster for the village. That's just a fact.
Regardless of how much economic benefit you believe it brings, that benefit is 1/10th or less of what it would be if a proper mix-used, high density structure had been built in that location -- fronting Main Street with parking in back, so as to suit the character of the village.
As others have said -- there's no reason to accept that Le Roy need be in permanent decline, or that everything needs to be ripped out in favor of Henrietta-type development. You've state at village board meetings that is pretty much what you want and you've given the strong impression that you would sell out to that type of developer in a heart beat (which is why I suspect you're so passionate about tearing down the Wiss). But that isn't, I believe, what the majority of people in Le Roy or Genesee County want. And as Perry, Medina, Mt. Morris, Corning and other cities and villages in WNY prove, it need not be Le Roy's fate.
a.) just because you wouldn't want to live there does not mean that others won't.
b.) even if it was the public's business what is done with a privately owned building it needs to be stated that the latest discussions from LLC members at Village Board meetings have been around office/business space instead on the upper floors.
c.) the advantages to the Village of letting them try are 1.) it creates an open and friendly community where people will want to come and invest instead of a community afraid to voice their opinions and creativity because they will be shot down, 2.) WHEN it did succeed then the Village did not have to spend precious tax payer dollars to demolish a building and could instead spend it on much needed infrastructre and sewage treatment upgrades.