For the last three years, preservationists have been pushing for tougher enforcement of building codes and a more aggressive pursuit of slumlords for violations. City Housing Court Judge Patrick Carney is taking heat for lax enforcement of the city’s building code and his reluctance to fully fine developers who sit idle on dilapidated properties.
A hearing this week regarding a key property in the cobblestone district owned by Darryl Carr has activists infuriated. The property sits at the corner of Illinois Street and South Park Avenue, just behind the First Niagara Center’s parking garage and the former DL&W terminal. Trendy nightspots have been sprouting on the block, and this corner parcel is seen as key to the neighborhood’s revival.
“At this point the problem is as much with Judge Carney as with Carr. As evidenced by this, the abortion playing out at 65 Grant Street, and others too numerous to list, he has demonstrated himself to be unable or unwilling to do the job he was elected to do – namely, enforcing the building codes – and he should be removed from the bench,” says one preservationist.
Buffalo Rising reports:
It is sentencing day tomorrow. Darryl Carr plead guilty in March to seven of nine building code violations at a property he owns at 110 South Park Avenue in the Cobblestone Historic District. In February, Housing Court Judge Patrick M. Carney told Carr’s attorney that Carr “needs to get off the pot.” Judge Carney also said the building “needs to be sealed until Mr. Carr figures out what he’s going to do with it. What he’s going to do with it is either fix it or get rid of it.” After pleading guilty, the Judge stated mothballing was supposed to be completed by March 19.
The judge’s patience is about to be tested. No work has occurred. The building remains unrepaired and open to the elements and promised redevelopment plans have not been submitted to the Planning Board. At the March court hearing, Carr provided stamped architectural drawings and said restoration of the corner building at 110 South Park Avenue was forthcoming. He was also supposed to submit an application to the Preservation Board for selective demolition of the small structure along Illinois Street. Carr was also asked to show evidence of financing for redevelopment. It remains to be seen if he can wave a check at the judge tomorrow at 9:30.
110 South Park originally housed Muggeridge’s Steam Bakery which made hardtack for the Union army during the civil war. It is one of the most iconic and most historically significant structures in the Cobblestone Historic District which was established in 1993 by the Buffalo Preservation Board.
It is past time for Carr or the City or the Court to swing a hammer