Holley moves to acquire Diaz homes

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 30 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Kristina Gabalski – This house at 10 Jackson St. in Holley is currently owned by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is expected to soon be transferred to the Village of Holley Development Corporation and then sold.

HOLLEY – The eight “Diaz homes” that have sat empty for more than a decade will soon be on the market.

Members of the Board of Directors of the Village of Holley Development Corporation on Monday evening authorized Board President Daniel Schiavone to work with the EPA to make two minor changes to an agreement with the federal agency before signing the contract.

Once the village and the EPA also sign the agreement, ownership of the homes will be transferred to the Development Corporation and the Board of Directors will decide how to move forward to sell the properties.

Under terms of the agreement, the EPA will receive 50 percent from sale of each of the properties – after closing costs and not counting legal fees.

“I think this is the best deal we are going to get,” Schiavone told board members. “I’m not sure if it’s in our best interest to keep negotiating. There is a buyer for all these homes. Anything will sell if the price is right and it’s our mission to get these homes inhabited and back on the tax rolls.”

He explained the EPA wants to show they didn’t just hand over the properties after spending millions of dollars in cleanup costs.

Schiavone will now work with the EPA to settle two items in the agreement before it is signed by the three parties involved: Clarification regarding how lead abatement is defined and making sure language is correct referring to the Village and the VHDC.

The EPA wants lead abatement done in the homes before they go back on the market, but did not make clear if such abatement could be accomplished per New York State guidelines.

The Development Corporation does not have funds to pay for abatement and Schiavone explained the EPA has suggested the cost could be built into the sale contract of the homes. Additionally, acronyms for the village and the Development Corporation were swapped in places in the agreement and need to be corrected, he said.

The homes are scattered in the area along and off South Main Street (Rt. 237) in the southwest portion of the village, in the neighborhood where the Diaz plant was located.

The properties include: 26 South Main, 27 South Main, 37 South Main, 38 Geddes, 6 Jackson, 10 Jackson, 11 Jackson and 14 Jackson.

The EPA purchased the homes following a chemical leak at the Diaz plant in January 2002.

The homes have been cleared by the EPA of contamination, with the exception of lead, which exceeds EPA levels, Schiavone explained.

“All have been appraised by the EPA,” he noted. “It’s not as disastrous as you might think.”

Schiavone said it is possible the Development Corporation could stand to gain as much as $200,000 to $250,000 from the sale of the homes. Those proceeds will “… allow this organization to move on to other projects in the community,” he said.

The Board of Directors additionally appointed Jeff Martin as group’s real estate attorney during the Monday meeting. Schiavone said Martin has agreed to no upfront costs for his services. He will be paid after the Development Corporation receives funds from the sale of the homes.

The Holley Village Board might move on signing the agreement at its next regular meeting, July 14. The Development Corporation meets again July 27 at 7 p.m.

Holley Village Trustee Skip Carpenter attended Monday’s meeting and said the EPA this summer is expected to install a new waterline on South Main Street to aid in cleanup efforts at the Diaz site. The water line project will also involve installation of new sidewalks.

Carpenter explained the EPA eventually will bring in additional power to facilitate future cleanup at the site.

“The cleanup is sizable,” he noted, but said there is no word on when that work will take place or how long it will last.