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October 22, 2014
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Two Smallwood homes may be demolished

The remains of this home on Taconic Trail in Smallwood present a danger to the community, according to Town of Bethel Supervisor Dan Sturm.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
February 5, 2014

WHITE LAKE, NY — There were two public hearings regarding derelict homes in the hamlet of Smallwood at the town board meeting on January 22. No one turned up to speak at either one.

For the house at 20 Keller Ave., Town ofBethel Supervisor Dan Sturm said he received a phone call from the owner, who had a problem getting to the meeting.

He said most of the residents who complain about the property are seasonal, and the house “is a problem.”

Reading from engineer Glenn Smith’s report on the house, he read, “the contractor appears to have halted work midway through repairs, leaving an unsafe and dangerous site.”

Smith wrote, “With removal of all the soil backfill, no frost protection exists, and seasonal frost heave and related freeze thaw damage has and will continue to occur. Repair is unlikely due to financial conditions.” He recommended the board take the building down, sending the job out for bid.

Sturm noted that the contractor took the owner’s money, then skipped out without finishing the job. He said he wanted to give the owner another month to appear before the board before sending it out to bid.

The rest of the board agreed.

The second public hearing concerned a house on Taconic Trail. Sturm said, “We have an uncooperative property owner.”

He said there was a fire at the house, and there was a pile of garbage outside of the house for months. The town spent $2,800 to clean up the garbage and debris, and pay engineer’s fees, and the cost was added to the structure’s property taxes.

The engineer’s report said, “considering the substantial damage and deterioration to the interior, and mold issues, and the age—it is over 50 years old—it is not, in my opinion, economically feasible to salvage the remains and reconstruct a completely new structure on it.” He said, however, the drilled well could possibly be salvaged.

The board voted to demolish the structure because of the safety issues it presented and to send the job out for bid. The cost of the demolition will be added to the property taxes. If the owner declines to pay the taxes with the additional cost of debris removal and demolition, the property will ultimately be foreclosed on by the county.