Holley hits a bump in acquiring 8 homes from EPA

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 1 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Appraised value for houses called ‘shockingly low’

HOLLEY – A snag has developed regarding the agreement between the Village of Holley Development Corporation, the Village of Holley and the EPA for the transfer of the ownership of the eight “Diaz Homes” from the EPA to the VHDC.

During the VHDC meeting on Monday evening, Board President Dan Schiavone reported that the agreement remains unsigned due to the fact the copy signed by Schiavone and village officials was “the second-to-last… not the most recent revision.”

The federal Environmental Protection Agency notified the parties of the situation and sent a new agreement, but Schiavone explained that that the wording had been altered to state the homes now need to have lead abatement completed by a certified lead abatement contractor rather than by the property owner.

“It’s a big game changer,” Schiavone said because the abatement work would come at a significant cost and might threaten the future sale of the homes.

Wording of the original contract allowed for abatement work to be done by the property owner under the supervision of the village code enforcement officer.

During Monday’s meeting, Schiavone also discussed appraisal values for the eight homes located on Jackson, South Main and Geddes Streets. The appraisals range from $0 for 6 Jackson St. to $60,000 for 37 S. Main St.

Appraisals for the eight properties total $217,000, an amount described by Schiavone as “shockingly low.”

Schiavone says the EPA “wants to get rid of the houses,” but has expressed concerns over passing a house down the line with unacceptable lead levels.

He reported that the village has not signed the new agreement under the advice of the village attorney.

Potential cost of certified abatement could be near $10,000, officials estimated. That kind of expense on a house appraised at $20,000, “might make the difference between selling and not selling,” Schiavone said.

Board members agreed that Schiavone would call the EPA to try to continue to negotiate wording in the contract.

“It’s a small detail that makes a major change in the deal,” he said.

Board members will meet next on Oct. 19 and will consider a proposal by a local real estate agent to list the properties once the VHDC eventually takes ownership.