ILION — A fire-damaged house on Otsego Street that is causing headaches for Ilion village officials is causing even more problems for the next-door neighbors.
Jeremy Rose, who lives next to the house at 161 Otsego St. that was damaged by fire last year, told the Ilion village board Wednesday that the roof on the house is starting to cave in and pieces of debris from the building are falling on his property.
He lost vehicles as a result of the fire and during a recent windstorm chunks of debris from the damaged house put a dent in the roof and a scratch down the windshield of his new vehicle.
When Rose shovels his driveway, he scoops up chunks of black charcoal, he added.
Rose also fears for the safety of his three young children when they are outside due to the proximity of the fire-damaged house.
He wanted to know when something would be done about the house.
"The fire happened May 12 and here it is Jan. 9," Rose said. "It’s been eight months."
"It’s a public safety hazard," said Trustee Ron Schoonmaker. "It’s got to come down."
The house on Otsego Street and one on East State Street both burned last year, but neither owner had insurance and village officials have been trying to decide how to proceed in dealing with the properties.
Rose said he had reached out to the fire chief, who agreed the property was a safety and health hazard.
Trustee Joanne Moore pointed out the police had been called in when garbage was dumped on the property after the fire.
Paul Bulinski, who owns a trucking company, said if the village determines the house to be a safety hazard he could put it on the ground the following day. It would then have to be handled as possible asbestos-containing material and hauled to the landfill in Ava.
"Who would haul it away," asked Mayor Brian Lamica.
The state would be involved in that aspect of the work, Bulinski said.
"I would put it on the ground safely," he said.
Village Trustee Charles Lester asked if the village could sue the property owner for the cost of tearing down and clearing the property.
"Realistically there’s no money in that," said Village Attorney Mark Rose. "It would cost the village money."
Lamica asked the attorney to look into how to proceed with having the house demolished as soon as possible.
Lester Avenue properties
Attorney Rose said the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank is preparing to demolish abandoned houses in the area of Lester Avenue.
"There are seven homes on Lester Ave., and that doesn’t include Maple Place," he said. "We have to make payments when they start physically demolishing the buildings. The agreement is for $5,000 a home."
The land bank is working to line up contractors to tear down buildings in Ilion and some in several other communities as well.
"They want everything done by April," according to Rose.
When asked what would happen to the properties when the houses are gone, he said the village would then work with the land bank to decide what to do with the parcels of land. In addition to taking down the buildings, the contractors will be filling and seeding the sites.
Some of the houses had been sliding down the hill due to erosion. Others are in dilapidated condition because they were abandoned.
Lamica commented that leaving the areas as open green space would be an improvement.