Statement from the Village Board May 2019

"53 W. Church Street, also known as the Potter House, is being considered for sale at the board meeting this evening.  Prior to the board considering this motion, I would like to provide some context as to the process and considerations the Village Board reflected upon with respect to the sale of this property.  The Potter House has been discussed and deliberated for many years prior to this legislative body.  The Village has been aware of its slow and steady decline in its physical appearance and historic state.  Over the years, the Village has attempted to mitigate these impacts by replacing the roof, first floor windows, upgrading certain utilities, conducting a porch refurbishment and most notably, the full replacement of an exterior wall on the back of the home.  With that said, we have barely moved the needle with the restoration requirements of this property. 

Approximately one year ago, the Board facilitated a number of community meetings at the Potter House to discuss its use and future impact as an asset in our community.  Throughout the meetings, it was evident that the Potter House means a lot to many residents, however its future use and contribution to this community as a long-term resource and asset was less than evident.  The Village undertook a feasibility study of the structure to determine the current state and rehabilitation efforts that would be required should the Village continue to own and operate the home.  The study reflected a significant financial investment would be required in the amount of approximately $900k to restore the facility.  Even with this investment, the structure would only provide about 400-500 sq. ft. of usable space for public use. This Village Board discussed the need to take action on this property at multiple work session and board meetings in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The greatest interest and overall goal of the Village Board is to ensure the property be preserved and rehabilitated to its former glory and historical significance.  Based on the financial magnitude of the restoration along with the timeliness of the repairs that need to be addressed, the option to sell the property to a private  purchaser is being considered.  The current offer before the Board for consideration is a proposal from a well-known and established local developer.  This offer is equal to the current full assessed value of the parcel.  The offer states the developer will work with the community, Village Board, Historic Preservation Commission and Village/Town Historian to ensure a proper rehabilitation of the property.  The offer also conditions the sale on rezoning the parcel to multi-family residential in lieu of the existing single-family residential zoning currently.  This proposal reflects a similar sentiment and position that is reflected in the Comprehensive Plan process currently underway.  Should the zoning change to permit multi-family housing occur, the current use of the structure will not change.  The Potter House has been operated as a commercial property for decades.  Over the years, on the first floor, events such as Boys & Girls Scout den meetings, driver’s education courses, bridge clubs, civic organization gatherings, weddings and a designated Monroe County polling place are all uses this property has hosted in the past.  In addition, until approximately one year ago, this home housed two residential units on the second floor that were occupied for years until building code restricted their occupancy. 
The Potter House is a significant undertaking and one that should be done by individuals that have the means, expertise, and passion for historic structures such as this.  The Village was desirous of selling the property as a single-family dwelling as currently zoned.  Unfortunately, the market for a single-family home that must be purchased for a minimum of $400k in addition to the $500k+ of renovations is not that strong even in one of the most seller friendly markets in recent real estate history.  The Village did not receive one offer for a single-family residential use.  The majority of the interested parties who participated in the numerous open house opportunities or contacted the Village for additional information, all wanted the ability to have multiple units in the home to help mitigate the costs of the renovation.  The Fairport Historic Preservation Commission will provide recommendations and guidance to the entity that purchases the property that will ensure a beautiful and historically correct parcel that is long overdue for a facelift.  The Village Board firmly believes that once this process is completed, the Potter House will be the premier residential property and will continue to be a historic landmark in this Village." 

Julie Domaratz, Mayor Village of Fairport
Village Board Meeting May 19, 2021

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