KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) — The lengthy dispute between the Village of Kenmore and Insty-Prints, a local business who’s occupied 2385 Elmwood Ave. in the village for 36 years, came to an end Tuesday. The Village said it will expand the police station on the existing property rather than take over a local business next door.
The Village dropped eminent domain and is moving in a new direction with the remodeling of the police station, which Mayor Patrick Mang announced during a town board meeting Tuesday.
“We’ve considered other options and we do have another option on the table right now. As of right now, eminent domain is being dropped and we’re going to pursue a different option at this time,” Mayor Patrick Mang said while addressing the room.
Originally, the plan to expand the headquarters including buying out Insty-Prints, located at 2385 Elmwood Avenue, just south of the police headquarters at 2395 Elmwood Ave. The Metz family, who founded Insty-Prints in the 1960s, felt the offer was too low and that it would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars more to move their business to a new location. The Village than tried to take over the property using eminent domain, which was announced in a November Village Board meeting.
Now, the police headquarters will remain at its current location, and expand into the parking lot while adding a second floor. The new police facility, which would include a locker room for female officers, a new parking garage, more on-site parking, boost accessibilities for the disabled and be more energy efficient, would cost $6 million.
According to meeting minutes from June 7, adding a second story to the current building was not possible. The Police Chief is now in conversations with an architect despite the June decision. The Village hopes to begin the project in the spring.
The Village decided to change course after the community rallied behind the business. An online petition has almost 2,000 signatures to keep Insty-Prints on Elmwood Ave.
“We just decided you know what there are people that are objecting to this. We can still do certain things there, not ideally,” Mayor Mang added.
The owners of Insty-Prints said during a town meeting on Tuesday that the village offered them $325,000 for the space, but they say they need an additional $200,000-$300,000 in order to move the business. The Metz brothers, who co-own the business, say they did not know if their business would survive a move.
“It’s been tough. It really has because we just had no idea where we were going to go,” Dave Metz, co-owner of Insty-Prints, said.
The dispute began in October 2021 when the Kenmore Mayor and Police Chief approached Insty-Prints about potentially buying the property. The Metz family asked the Village to make them an offer. After several offers from both sides and the implementation of eminent domain law in November, the Village decided to move in the new direction. Now, if the business does not want to sell, they can keep the location at 2385 Elmwood Ave.
According to state legislation on eminent domain, when an offer is made, “a condemnee may accept the offer as payment in full; or a condemnee may reject the offer as payment in full and instead elect to accept such offer as an advance payment, and that such election shall in no way prejudice the right of a condemnee to claim additional compensation; however, the failure of the condemnee to file a claim within the time of filing claims as provided in subdivision (A) of section five hundred three of this law shall be deemed an acceptance of the amount paid as full settlement of such claim.”
Even though the dispute began more than a year ago, the Metz brothers say they have no ill will toward the Village Board.
“I wish we could’ve come together sooner to the table and hashed this whole thing out and that they didn’t have to go down this road. I feel that they think the same thing too,” Tom Metz, co-owner of Insty-Prints, said.
Mayor Mang added that the property buyout and project would have cost the taxpayers too much money and that it was not in the best interest of Kenmore as a whole. He added that businesses like Insty-Prints are important for the village’s growth.
“It’s a great village and I think it has so much potential and it still does,” Mayor Mang said.
The Metz family says they could not have done it without the community’s support.
“Hopefully we can work together, as the one trustee said, for another 36 years,” Tom Metz concluded.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.