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Owner Delays Derelict Building Demolition - Again

The highlight of last Thursday’s Somers Town Board meeting was a public hearing involving a derelict barn at 228 Mahopac Avenue. Under Chapter 77 of the Somers Town Code, which concerns unsafe buildings, the law requires that the barn be demolished.

Appearing before the board on behalf of his partners, co-owner Robert Curtis stated that demolition has been delayed because a demolition permit is required. The permit has been delayed because it requires the signature of a co-owner in California.

“I asked them to send the application to California,” Curtis said. “[His partner] should receive it today or tomorrow. We have a contractor, but he can’t start because he doesn’t have a permit.”

Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy pointed out that, “this has been going on since August 2009,” noting “We have a record of 10, 12, or 15 phone calls on the subject.”

Another board member added, “I would recommend that the board put the project on an extra short time clock.”

“Will the work be completed by the first of July?” asked Murphy.

“I don’t know what the schedule is for the contractor,” replied Curtis. He mentioned that he had received an estimate for the work to be done. The board asked to see a copy of the estimate.

“How long do you expect the work to take?” asked Murphy.

“One day.”

“If the work will only take one day and the building is unsafe, I’d imagine you’d want it down as soon as possible,” said Murphy.

Curtis responded, “I want to be there to see if there’s any equipment in it that’s worth salvaging.”

The board offered to review the subject for a final time at a public hearing on July 7.

“I certainly think that that’s a reasonable time for this contractor to have taken it down, or for some other contractor to do it, especially given that it’s a one-day job and contractors are not all that busy right now,” commented a board member.

“Be sure to have it down before our July 7th meeting,” said Murphy.

“I’ll try,” said Curtis, “but I won’t be here for the July 7th meeting.”

“If it is not down, I will recommend to the board that we do it immediately and your property will be levied -- not only for the work but for the attorney’s fees associated with the process,” said Murphy. “I recommend that you get right on it.”

“I’m on top of it,” said Curtis. “For some reason you feel that I’m not, but I really am on top of it.”

Murphy replied, “The record speaks for itself.”

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