By Mark Williams:
It is disheartening that I find myself writing to eulogize a building that has been unnecessarily allowed to become a victim of neglect; especially one in a much sought-after location such as Johnson Park. I am, of course, making reference to 102 Johnson Park (see back story) that has been coerced into playing the role of an unwanted child whose eventual fate will be urban vandalism.
David Torke, of Fix Buffalo, periodically quotes the “Broken Window” theory where one broken window, left unrepaired, will lead to a multitude of broken windows, vandalism, urban blight, and eventual demolition tearing away yet another piece of fabric from the community.
The boarded-over front entrance with “Order to Vacate the Premises” stenciled in red letters is a far more deadly parody of David Torke’s theory in so much as it is shouting an invitation for further violation of this property.
Compounding this tragedy is that there has been a conscientious effort by the community and Buffalo Rising to prevent this from happening. However, due to unenforceable housing inspection citations and an owner who refuses to relinquish his stranglehold on this property, we may possibly lose another architecturally significant building in one of Buffalo’s more unique areas.
Rhetorical questions; how do we prevent a potential sad farewell to a 124-years of history whose demolition will reverberate throughout the neighborhood but will be meaningless to those who may pass-through and gaze upon an empty lot and murmur: “A house actually stood on that narrow lot?”
What part of an individual’s psyche allows them to neglect their property without any personal accountability? Even a slumlord has a motivation and that is to simply make as much money from their property with little to no maintenance.
Chuck Dobucki is, indeed, a paradox in regards to 102 Johnson Park as the house is no longer legally habitable, but yet, he continues to pay property taxes and nothing more.
I would almost entertain the notion that he may have some form of sentimental attachment to the house as his mother once owned it. However, wanton neglect negates that theory and, if the problem is monetary, than why not just sell it as we all know the property will catch a fair price even in its present condition.
There is a fine line between community property management standards and violating homeowners civil rights but when the owner neither resides nor even rents the property, there has to be some form of legalities that can prevail without being abusive. Perhaps there is no adequate form of checks and balances and we are simply left to deal with an individual whose attitude is screw you.