fixBuffalo readers no doubt have been following the trials and tribulations of Buffalo's Control Board Treasurer, Rev. Richard Stenhouse.  I caught this letter in Tuesday's Buffalo News from Rocco Termini praising Rev. Stenhouse and taking a swipe at me.
If the issue was as simple as Rocco Termini presents it, I'd probably agree. The larger issue and for some reason skirted by Rocco Termini is simple. Phone calls - from City Hall to Rev. Stenhouse - do not resolve issues impacting public safety. Enforcement of the City's building code brings compliance. As I've documented, since January 2007 - see Boarding Control - the single largest owner of blighted property surrounding the new $30m permanent home of BAVPA is Rev. Stenhouse's Bethel CDC.

He's simply failed to secure the property.

From last week's Buffalo News...
Acting on an anonymous tip, city inspectors visited the empty homes earlier this year and found more than two dozen violations. The problems ranged from decaying walls and roofs, to missing steps and loose railings...Nowak directed parties to return to court Sept. 19. The judge also stressed the importance of making sure all doors and windows in the vacant homes are sealed pending demolition.
I met with Rev. Stenhouse in front of his properties late last week. He assured me that they'd all be demolished prior to the first day of school across the street at BAVPA's new home.

Let's wait and see.
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puffalo bundit said...

Birds of a feather flock together

OSHA should pre-inspect Stenhouse's demolition & construction sites to prevent unsafe working conditions. Pre-inspections should be mandatory when there are building code violations.

STEEL said...

The houses need to be demolished why? Oh yes because they have been neglected. Why doesn't the owner of the houses fix them up and sell them instead.

b said...

Given recent controversy of his speed dialing Deputy Mayor Casey when inspectors showed up at the Webb construction site, wonder if Rocco was being subconsciously ironic with his line in the letter:
"Whatever happened to the old-fashioned method of calling people and discussing the problem?"

b said...

Why doesn't the owner of the houses fix them up and sell them instead.

Would it make sense to fix them up if nobody is willing to purchase the end results and live in them or be a landlord and find tenants for them?

Show of hands - if instead of demolishing, the Rev takes Steel's advice and fixes any of them, who is ready to purchase and find rental tenants, and/or move in themselves?

You with your hand up - it's not too late - call the Rev now and make your offer.
Seriously, why not?

(cue the crickets....)

STEEL said...

Your comment would be ironic and funny if he was not already selling hundreds of houses in the neighborhood. Many of these rotting houses are easily fixable for the cast of a new build. There seems to be no reason to tear these down when there is obviously a market for his new houses.

b said...

There seems to be no reason to tear these down when there is obviously a market for his new houses.

Steel - so your logic is that because there's a market for other houses that happen to new houses in new subsidized developments, that therefore it's automatically true that there's also a market for these existing older vacant houses?

If that's true, what's the likely explanation of him not selling these?

He likes throwing money away on demo costs? He likes paying lawyers for court appearances? Or he's demolishing out of spite because of... what exactly?

And if your theory is true, why has nobody offered to buy any of these from him?

Nobody else agrees with you that it would be a good idea?

Again, these are not demolished yet so if somebody offers him any money at all, won't he sell so he then saves the demolition costs?

Why is nobody making an offer?

Doesn't that reality have much more meaning than does somebody just saying there's a market for them but not being able to cite even one example of a willing purchaser?

How can there be a market for something for which there's no willing purchaser?

STEEL said...


perhaps there is no willing purchaser because they are not being marketed or because the owner has let them run down to a point where few if any people are willing to make the investment.

Perhaps there are no buyers because there are only a few people and organizations with the government subsidies to make development like this doable (the same government subsidies by the way used to build new houses in this neighborhood.

Perhaps he and others do not renovate these houses because of a myopic view that this federal money should only go into new buildings. Or the myopic view that these neighborhoods will only be changed by making them look like Cheektowaga

As for renovation these buildings and finding new buyers. David Torke has had some limited success in finding these people willing to take on the challenge. If you read this site regularly you will read about it.

If they are fixed up to a quality level equal to and quite possibly better than the new builds in the area I can pretty much guaranty that they will sell. Renovation has a very positive track record in Buffalo.

In the mean time the people who do own a building have a responsibility to maintain them in safe and attractive condition period.