An unexpected development in the heart of the village business district
By Andrew Harris
The Wellsville Municipal Parking Lot has had a very boring past until recently. The late, great Walt Babbit donated his portion of the parking lot to be used for public parking. Several locals have noted that Walt’s intention was to bolster Main Street District for all the small business owners. The other portion of the parking lot remained in private hands, mostly as part of the “Rockwells” building property. Below is a recent survey map of the parking long. The area marked “A,” is the area which Babbit donated for public use, the area marked “B,” is the section which now plans to install storage units.
For decades, the entire lot has been mostly public, with loose enforcement for parking spot squatters. I used to live in a loft over this parking lot, it was a nice quiet parking lot.
That changed when the “Rockwell’s” property was sold. A investor doing business as Iris and William LLC has purchased multiple local properties in the Main Street District. One property is the old “Rockwell’s” building, which comes with a large chunk of this parking lot. After purchasing the property, Iris and William realized that no formal agreement existed with the village. A “handshake” agreement had been made in the past which the village offered maintenance of the lot(paving and snow plowing,) in return for free public access. The new owners demanded a formal agreement for liablity reasons and entered into negotiations with the Village of Wellsville.
Iris and William LLC and the village of Wellsville had a simple land use contract for a few months but the village declined to renew that agreement in early 2023. At that point, negotiations between the village and Iris and William LLC appeared to have ended.
With that formal relationship over, Iris and William LLC, ultimately shut down the parking lot spaces with wooden barricades. Since that time we have heard very little about the circumstances, until this week.
A new sign was posted making a public announcement of plans to place self-storage units on the space. The sign advertises thirty eight, 100 square foot storage units will be installed.
Nearly four thousand square feet of self-storage would be a permanent change for the old neighborhood.
We reached out the principle at Iris and William LLC about the sign and the plans for the future:
“At this time we have no comment,” was the response.
Village of Wellsville Mayor Randy Shayler was asked about the potential for storage units in the lot and also provided a very firm, “no comment.”