Private owner places physical barricade around almost two dozen parking spaces
By Andrew Harris
Parking in Wellsville has been a problem for many years, but after a bold move by the owner of Iris and William LLC over the weekend, the village has an unprecedented parking problem. Iris and William LLC own the building best known as the “Rockwell Building,” and a portion of the parking lot behind the Main Street storefront.
Over the weekend the owner installed a border of treated wood-4×4 posts around that portion of the municipal parking lot. The wood posts were secured to the newly-paved parking lot with masonary bolts. In total about one hundred bolts were drilled into the parking lot surface in order to secure the perimeter.
When we visited the lot to look at the newly erected barrier, Mike Raptis, the owner of Rub-a-Dub Laundromat(located in the parking lot) was shaking his head in disbelief. Raptis explained that the large “No Parking” sign which was erected last week was, “fine, it was respectful.”
“But this is just crazy and creates some real public safety issues,” Raptis continued and was clearly not happy about the escalation of the tension between the lot owner, the village of Wellsville, and the businesses impacted.
Concerns about emergency vehicles seem to be paramount. The barriers now in place leave very little room to navigate through the parking lot using the public right of way. Emergency vehicles like fire trucks would never be able to avoid running over the barriers and “speed of access” would certainly be impacted. Multiple businesses and apartments are located within the lot and the majority of the parking lot is still free public parking.
The Sun reached out to Mr. Otero, the owner of Iris and William LLC, who purchased the property last summer. He did not respond to our request but Otero has made it clear that he has a busy travel schedule and is largely unable address the issue until a later date.
Village Mayor Randy Shayler has advised the Sun that all comments on the matter must be addressed to the village attorney.
Richard Buck, of Richardson, Pullen, and Buck P.C., was asked for comment on the new development, presumably a reaction to his recent statement provided to the Wellsville Sun. In that statement on March 31, Buck explains the history of the matter at hand, explained what steps the village had taken to-date, and ended the letter with, “The village is considering all options.”
In response to the latest actions taken by the owner of the parking lot, Buck had this to say:
” I do not understand Tarek’s(Otero) response. It seems to be an emotional response to a business situation. If what he told me last fall was true, that he has folks who want to lease 36 spots, why not have those folks start parking there? If he does not think $32,000 is enough money, why doesn’t he commission an appraisal that supports his valuation, whatever that is?”
Read the history of this developing story from our previous reporting: