EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The East Aurora Village Board voted unanimously Monday night to approve the designation of historical landmark status to the Irving Price home and the home right next door at 253 Main Street.
“Our historic resources in East Aurora are core to our identity,” said Mark Warren, chairman of the East Aurora Historic Preservation Commission.
Gene Wachala, the owner of Pasquale’s Restaurant across the street, bought the homes with the sole intention of knocking them down to provide more parking for his patrons.
“We’ve been in this village for 30 years, 15 of which we’ve had parking issues,” said Wachala.
He says the homes are gutted and have extensive damage, which will be very costly to repair, something he wasn’t prepared for when he purchased the homes. But the board says Wachala should have done his research.
“People will buy a home near an airport and they want something done because there’s too much jet plane noise. It’s the same thing here. I would hope that no matter what you buy in business or residence what have you that you do your homework, you know what the rules are,” said East Aurora Mayor Allan Kasprzak.
The boards main concern is that if the buildings were torn down, it would have altered the look of Main Street. They didn’t want to risk East Aurora losing its historical charm.
“What makes East Aurora special is our historical character, that’s why people love it here. I think tearing down these buildings would be a move towards losing what sets us apart,” said trustee Peter Mercurio.
Wachala’s lawyer says the board still hasn’t acknowledged their demolition request from earlier this year, instead bypassing it to put the historical landmark status into place.
“I wouldn’t foreclose the possibility of a legal challenge at this time,” said attorney Corey Auerbach.