A Lockport City Court judge on Wednesday again delayed a decision on six code violations against the owner of the former Occidental Chemical headquarters on Rainbow Boulevard South that stem from a paid parking lot he has operated on the site.

Judge Thomas DiMillo told attorneys Wednesday he would hear a motion May 8 to dismiss the case against Frank Parlato Jr. and One Niagara, a limited liability corporation that owns the nine-story glass cube.

“It looks like the end of this case is near — one way or another,” said DiMillo, noting that he wanted to keep a “clean record” in case the decision is appealed.

The decision was the latest delay in a code violation case that has continued since Parlato was first cited in August 2005 for violating three city codes, including allowing vehicles to park on the site for a fee. The city engineer in October 2005 cited Parlato for three additional violations.

In August 2006, Niagara Falls City Court Judge Mark Violante recused himself in the middle of a trial that was expected to resolve the case because of a lawsuit Parlato intends to file against the judge.

The high-profile building was the site of a failed proposal by the previous owners to construct an underground aquarium, and several of the violations stemmed from a giant excavation on the property that Parlato has since filled and turned into a parking lot.

Despite the citation, city officials say Parlato has continued to operate the paid parking lot while the building is condemned.

“In light of the fact that he’s been parking there continuously, I’m displeased that we couldn’t bring this to a settlement today as he previously negotiated,” said Guy Bax, the city’s director of inspections, after the court appearance.

Because the building is currently condemned, Bax said any paid parking on the site is not allowed.

Parlato’s attorney, Paul Grenga, on Monday asked DiMillo to reinstate his motion, which he filed in January but later withdrew as he negotiated with the city.

Parlato sent a letter to Bax on Monday stating that he would not operate the parking lot for fees until he receives a certificate of occupancy for the building. However, he said he still objected to a city ordinance that does not allow landowners to operate private, paid parking lots that are not associated with a business or facility.

Parlato said he plans to re-open the building within a few weeks and will remedy any outstanding building code violations.

Chris Mazur, the city’s assistant corporation counsel, said he had expected to resolve the case with a trial after negotiations for a plea deal failed.

“We thought we had a plea agreement worked out,” Mazur said after the court appearance on Wednesday. “And it’s unfortunate that wasn’t the case.”

Last year, the city struck a stipulation of settlement with Parlato that allowed him to operate the first floor of the building despite not being in complete compliance with the city’s codes. Under that settlement, Parlato agreed to fill the 40-foot hole dug by the prior owner for the failed AquaFalls project.

The building is currently condemned. Grenga said the city revoked the certificate of occupancy after the electricity and sprinkler system were shut off for the winter.

Grenga said the condemnation was the only instance he is aware of in which the city has revoked a certificate of occupancy for a building because it was shut down for the winter.

City records show One Niagara owes $918,310 in current and back city, school and county taxes on the 2-acre property.

Trending Video

Recommended for you