ORCHARD PARK, NY - The Town of Orchard Park is now taking steps to address an eyesore that residents have complained about for years.
The issue concerns a collapsed barn that officials say the owner refuses to get rid or or rebuild -- they also allege that the owner has made at least one threatening comment in the past.
"He said he'll shoot anybody who comes onto the property and that's a very threatening thing to say to anyone," said Orchard Park supervisor Patrick Keem.
Orchard Park officials have concerns, not only about a collapsed barn on Quaker Road being a safety hazard, but also, the words the property owner is reported to have used a year ago regarding any town action taken in demolishing the building.
"Hopefully he was just spouting off at his mouth on the action like that," Keem said.
The owner of the property is listed under William Smith. Town officials say they're unsure when the barn collapsed, but have been getting complaints from neighbors for the last several years that it's an eyesore.
"It keeps getting worse and worse and it became a hazard for the community," Keem said.
2 On Your Side went to the Orchard Park building department -- the building inspector says, Smith has been sent violation notices to repair or demolish the building -- but has refused to act. And when, Smith went to town hall to get a permit for a shed last year, the building inspector says a department employee brought up the collapsed barn and said the town could take it down. The building inspector says Smith responded in saying, "I'll shoot anybody that comes on my property," and that this was not said as a joke -- still the building department didn't consider Smith's comment to be a threat.
Orchard Park police have different thoughts.
"That's a threat to be taken seriously so now we have to determine how serious that was," said Orchard Park police chief Mark Pacholec.
Pacholec says he first heard of the reported comment at a town board meeting Wednesday night and that an officer will be sent to talk to the homeowner.
REPORTER: Are you frustrated at all that this was the first time you were hearing about that particular comment?
"There is frustration but it's not the first time that we find out something after the fact," Pacholec said.
Both the police chief and the supervisor say they're unsure if Smith has a gun on the property.
If police find Smith did make the comment, he could get a ticket for harassment. A call for comment to Smith was not returned.
As for the collapsed barn, town officials say if the building isn't demolished or repaired soon, then the town will look to hire a demolition company to take the barn down. And if that happens, Supervisor Keem says costs for demolition would be added to the homeowner's tax rolls. The Orchard Park police chief says it is definitely a possibility that officers would be on site, if demolition is approved.