The village and new property owner sign three month agreement
By Andrew Harris, image via Google Maps
The main public parking lot in the business district of downtown Wellsville serves many functions. First and foremost the lot provides parking for the customers, employees, and suppliers for the entire shopping district. The lot is home to the popular eatery and catering business, “Chelsea’s,” and the “Rub-a-Dub” laundromat. Tim Shea Plumbing headquarters is located in the parking lot but doesn’t have a storefront precense. Many patrons of the Modern Diner, The Wellsville Brewing Company, The Wellsville Creative Arts Center, The Texas Hot, The Shop on Main, From the Hart, The Music Alley, WillCare, and other Main Street small businesses rely on this parking lot. It is a busy place and very important for downtown commerce.
When Tarek Otero purchased the Rockwell’s building on Main Street from Alan and Karla Hills, about one third of the municipal parking lot came with the building. That portion of the parking lot extends to the property owned by the railroad, see the 2015 survey map below. After the purchase, the new owner began investigating the parking lot situation. That investigation(Otero is a retired commercial helicopter detective,) has since created a flurry behind-the-scenes negotiations in Wellsville.
This survey map depicts the section under new ownership in pink, but the majority of the lot is village property. For many years the village has maintained the entire parking lot under handshake agreement made long ago. When Alan and Karla Hills purchased the property they explained that they had asked for an agreement but that never happened. When they sold the building, no agreement or lease or contract of any kind transferred to the new owner. That was unacceptable to Otero, who has been in negotiations with the village since the July purchase.
After months of back and forth, of which Mayor Randy Shayler personally managed, Otero reported yesterday that a temporary agreement had been reached and his portion of the parking lot would remain open:
“When I purchased this building I immediately asked the village for an formal agreement. I’m very glad we finally have an temporary agreement.”
With a parking lot crisis averted for the holiday shopping season, this contract expires on January 31st, 2023. Village of Wellsville Attorney Richard Buck said that the short term license agreement would enable the public to keep using new owners portion of the lot in exchange for the Village paying $1,500 and plowing and salting the lot area.
The temporary contract will provide Otero indemnity while the lot is professionally appraised and negotiations resume for a more permanent agreement. It also allows for the public to access the entire lot and village snowplows to keep the lot clear. Both very important as merchants hope to bring holiday shoppers downtown for the remainder of the year.
What happens next is still relatively unclear. According to Mayor Shayler, the village can’t make any decisions for the future without first understanding the value of the property in question.
“The Village can’t even intelligently consider how to move forward on this without a proper appraisal so we can understand what this lot is worth. We can’t speculate about leasing or buying the lot until that first step,” explained Mayor Randy Shayler.
After the appraisal, the new owner and the village will be making a deal for a long term lease or the village has signaled an interest in purchasing the lot.
While no exact date has been announced, the appraisal is expected to occur during this calendar year.
This survey on the lot was conducted in 2015, showing the complexities of the parking lot property lines.