Nonprofits which might want to donate to the former Cristina's Restaurant location on Ellicott Street in Batavia need to act quickly, said owner Charles Brumsted today.
He set a deadline of 3 p.m., Aug. 26, for nonprofits to apply for ownership of the property.
At the same time, Brumsted is facing a deadline of his own -- he has until Sept. 17 to dispose of the property one way or another, or go to trial on a series of misdemeanor charges levied by Batavia code-enforcement inspectors.
Brumstead was summoned to Batavia City Court today -- his attorney appeared on his behalf -- to answer to a series of complaints by the city that Brumstead has not been maintaining his property in compliance with local codes.
The allegations include: problems with the roof; cracks in exterior walls; a front door boarded over with plywood; and the structure's vacant appearance, all of which create a blighted appearance in the neighborhood, among other complaints (Source: WBTA).
Brumsted told WBTA's Geoff Redick today that the deadline in court and the new deadline for the nonprofits is merely a coincidence.
"The deadline that was set for Thursday, August 26th," says Brumsted, "was solely...to the effect that we were overwhelmed with the amount of response, and the not-for-profit organizations that have come forth for the interest in Cristina's restaurant."
Brumsted told The Batavian that some 15 nonprofit organizations have expressed an interest in the property.
The selection criteria, he said, will be based on what the nonprofits want to do with the property and how well that use will serve the community.
Of course, if the property is donated to a nonprofit, it will be taken off the city's tax rolls. At the same time, if the right nonprofit put the property to good use, it would bring people and activity to that section of Ellicott Street.
"I still own property in that area," Brumsted said. "I want to see something that helps other businesses in the area."
In a brief conversation today, City Manager Jason Molino said he didn't have a position on whether the property remains with a private owner or goes to a nonprofit.
"It's his property and he can do what he wants with it," Molino said, adding "Of course, he has a few issues to clear up first."
In other Batavia City Court actions on code-violation allegations:
- Latina's is in significant compliance with city codes, officials said. The deadline for full compliance was extended to Sept. 17.
- Ron Graziaplena, who has upset some neighbors with his 19 mallard ducks and other issues in his yard on Oak Street, appeared with an attorney, Frank Zinni. Judge Robert Balbick gave the attorney until Sept. 17 to get up to speed with the case.