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Massena board sets hearing on possible structure demolition

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MASSENA - The village’s Board of Trustees will hold a hearing prior to its next January meeting to determine whether to demolish a derelict property at 68 Water St.

The building, owned by James and Mary Venier, was damaged in a 2008 fire and has not been repaired since. The building breaks five of 12 criteria in the Massena building code that outline when a structure may become danerous or unsafe to the general public. These include damage to 33 percent or more of its supporting foundation; fire damage severe enough to pose a threat to the safety, health and general welfare of the public; a failure to provide amenities essential to healthy human habitation; and having parts so detached from the structure they may fail and injure members of the public, village officials said.

“All the structural deficiencies could be resolved with current and proper repairs. However, without a firm time-table, investment and committment from the owner, said structure will be condemned and demolished,” Code Enforcement Officer Gregory Fregoe told the village board.

He also said the owner has not shown interest in making those repairs.

Mr. Fregoe noted the village is obligated by law to hold a public hearing with the owner present before it can proceed with a demolition, and that the village could take legal action to recoup the costs associated with the demolition. The village has a variety of options for this, including billing the owner for the costs of an asbestos survey and demolition and fining the owner $250 each day they fail to comply with the village’s code.

Mayor James F. Hidy said if the owner does not reimburse the village for the demolition costs, it will recoup the costs by adding them to Mr. and Ms. Venier’s property taxes.

Mr. Hidy stressed that action needs to be taken on the structure in the interest of the village. “It’s a safety hazard, it’s unsightly, it’s been this was for some time, and it was to be dealt with,” he said.

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