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Pok-A-Dot seeks to end right-of-way lease with the city after entering into new one with NYS DOT

By Mike Pettinella

City Manager Rachael Tabelski solicited some laughter during Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting while proposing to end a $40 per month, 56-year-old right-of-way lease with owners of the Pok-A-Dot Restaurant at 229 Ellicott St.

Tabelski said she believed it’s time for the city to terminate the lease (and City Attorney George Van Nest agreed) that was created after it was found that part of the building was on the city’s right-of-way.

At that time – the year was 1965 – it was agreed that Pok-A-Dot owners Philip Pastore Jr. and Joseph Marone would pay the city $40 per month.

“We’ve never changed the terms and conditions of the lease – and they’ve always paid,” Tabelski said, “and they’ve always provided great beef on Weck and French fries.”

In 2020, the restaurant’s current owners, Pastore’s wife, Leona, and daughter, Phyllis Pastore-Beers, expanded the business to accommodate COVID-19 distancing protocol and food pick-up options. In the process, they obtained a New York State Department of Transportation permit to complete the work because it is located in a U.S. right-of-way for missile transport.

Interestingly enough, the DOT permit carries a fee of $460 per year – slightly less than the fee of the Pok-A-Dot’s lease with the city. As a result, Pok-A-Dot owners are requesting an end to the city lease, Tabelski said.

City Council members agreed to move the proposal to its Jan. 10 Business Meeting for discussion and a possible vote.

Three other Conference Meeting resolutions were forwarded to last night’s Business Meeting and all were approved:

  • A 15-month contract, effective immediately, with AMREX of Binghamton to supply the Water Treatment Plant with sodium hypochlorite at an inflation-induced cost of $1.45 per gallon.

Calling it a “weird and wild ride procuring resources,” Tabelski said that was the lowest of seven bids received for the chemical, which is used for disinfection of the public water supply. She added that other municipalities are having similar supply issues.

Previously, the city paid 86 cents a gallon for the chemical, she said.

  • An emergency purchase of 400 pounds of refrigerant for a compressor at the Batavia Ice Arena on Evans Street at a cost of $19,800. The funds will be taken from the facility’s reserves, dropping the available amount to $371,000.

Tabelski said she approved the purchase after Carrier personnel replaced the compressor and discovered and repaired a couple leaks in the refrigerant system. Consequently, the system is low on R-22 refrigerant and could be in danger of malfunctioning.

  • The reappointment of realtor Bernadette Penfield to the Board of Assessment Review through Sept. 30, 2026.

Council also forwarded a resolution to the Jan. 10 Business Meeting to accept a $28,681 grant from Genesee County STOP-DWI to provide specialized patrols targeting drug and alcohol impaired driving, and the purchase of RADAR units, training of a Drug Recognition Expert and associated expenses.

File photo of the Pok-A-Dot by Howard Owens.

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