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Massena attorney to review demolition recommendations

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MASSENA - The village attorney is reviewing whether the Board of Trustees can proceed with demolition proceedings for three structures.

At last month’s meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Gregory C. Fregoe presented three recommendations for demolitions: the former Homestead Dairy Building at 106 W. Hatfield St., a building foundation 43 Spruce St. and a building at 68 Water St. which was damaged in a 2008 fire.

The owner of the Spruce Street parcel previously tore down a house there and had promised to rebuild a couple of years ago, but instead a foundation has remained there, Mr. Fregoe said. The Homestead Dairy building’s front paneling and lettering is falling off, and the structure is deteriorating. Mr. Fregoe said that building was in “terrible shape.”

The board took no action on the three recommendations at the last meeting, and instead sent them to attorney Matthew McArdle for review. Mayor James F. Hidy said Mr. McArdle’s review was to ensure the village was following all the right steps in the demolition process.

“If the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, we’ll take it to the next step,” Mr. Hidy said. “We’ve got to come back with attorney approval that (Mr. Fregoe) has done due diligence.”

Mr. Hidy said the village also plans to retain an engineer who can determine whether the buildings are structurally sound. Pending Mr. McArdle’s review, the board can then schedule a hearing, which the dilapidated building owner is invited to.

After the hearing, the board can vote to require the owner to repair or demolish the structure. If the owner doesn’t do so within a certain period of time, then the village can act itself and bill the owner for the expenses.

Mr. McArdle said he had not yet reviewed the demolition recommendations but expected to soon. He said his purpose was to ensure the village board was following the right process before it took any action on the recommendations.

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