News, Politics, and Culture from 14895

By Craig Braack

Mr. Otero’s Message to Village Residents:


“Show Up To Public Hearing Monday and Voice Your Opinion!”

This is a paid political advertisement from Concerned Citizens of Wellsville

The heated debate consuming the Village of Wellsville for the past six months is coming to a head this coming Monday, October 9th with a public hearing. The hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Wellsville Village Offices located at 23 North Main Street, next door to Pizza King in Wellsville, NY.

The Village Board has proceeded with an attempt to claim eminent domain over a privately owned parking lot to force the owner, Mr. Tarek Otero, to sell the lot to the village.  At the public hearing, Mr. Otero will address the board and village residents. An open forum will allow residents to voice their opinions to the board.

Mr. Otero’s Public Relations Coordinator, Marshall Green, recently visited the village clerk to find out why an issue with this much prominence in the news is not being held in a facility that can adequately hold a large number of residents. “I was informed by the clerk that the Village Board did not have time to coordinate a larger public space due to the speed at which the Board decided to coordinate the public hearing,” commented Green. “The clerk also informed me that if a large number of residents show up, and room becomes an issue, then they will form a line winding outside the building allowing everyone a chance to voice their opinion.  Those who are outside of the room will not be able to hear Mr. Otero’s comments.”

Green expressed concern that the hearing was scheduled on Columbus Day, a national holiday.  He stated, “It seems to me that if the village board really wanted to hear from its citizens, they would have waited to find a suitable location with ample space and not scheduled it on a national holiday.”[JB1] 

The village leased the lot from Mr. Otero for four months over the 2022-2023 holiday season at $500 per month (less than 40 cents a day per space). When offered the continuation of the lease at the same rate, the village declined and expressed interest in purchasing the lot. Mr. Otero informed the village that he was not interested in selling the property. After the village chose not to continue leasing the parking lot, Mr. Otero made plans to start utilizing the property for public storage units. In early September, a few days after the first storage units started to arrive on the property, a news story was published declaring the village’s pursuit of eminent domain.  A few days later, Mr. Otero received formal notice from the village of this action.

Mr. Otero has chosen up to this point to remain mostly silent and plans to make a formal address to the community at the public hearing so that the proper context of the situation is given. Both Mr. Otero and Concerned Citizens of Wellsville are asking all residents to come to the hearing on Monday, speak your mind, and let the village know that it is unethical for them to attempt to claim eminent domain on privately owned property.

“A more than reasonable opportunity for the village to rent those spaces was provided multiple times over the past 6 months,” concluded Green. “Now they decided they are just going to take it because they did not get their way. We need to show up and tell our local government that this is not acceptable!”

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