Jun 05, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
A property that has been deemed a significant eyesore and potential public health hazard was removed from the village of Cazenovia last week when the derelict house at 6 Farnham St. was demolished and a gravel parking lot for Cazenovia Fire Department members put in its place.
The village board, which had deferred the action for two years, decided recently the house’s deteriorating condition had reached the point where it was a safety hazard to residents and an aesthetic detriment to the community, and therefore should be removed, said Mayor Kurt Wheeler. Also part of the demolition decision was the fact that the fire department, which has been using the building for firefighter training for the past two years, has gotten as much use out of the structure as they could.
The building was demolished last Tuesday in less than an hour; by Wednesday, the debris was completely removed, the ground leveled and a gravel parking lot put in its place. The total project cost the village approximately $42,000.
“We decided this year to bite the bullet and do this,” Wheeler said. “Obviously, there’s never a good time to spend $42,000 when you get nothing constructive for that money, but we had already deferred for two years and felt that now we had to take it down and keep it from being health and safety hazard.”
The village of Cazenovia purchased the house at 6 Farnham St. in 2012 specifically with the intention to tear it down and create a parking lot for members of the Cazenovia Fire Department. The CFD currently has only 10 parking spots. When its members come to the station to respond to emergency calls, they have been parking in Buyea’s True Value lot and in the Colligan and Sons service station lot.
The village board last summer reviewed and approved the proposal to change the zoning on the Farnham Street lot in order to create the parking lot. The village also did an asbestos abatement on the house, and it was determined there was asbestos present in the floors, walls, ceilings and insulation, said Public Works Administrator Bill Carr.
Due to the large presence of asbestos, last week’s removal was a “controlled demolition” in which the house was wetted down to contain aerated particles, the perimeter of the house was set with air monitoring systems and the contractors wore protective suits and respirators. The demolition was done by an excavator with a clamp jaw and the debris loaded into a plastic-lined tractor trailer, which was then sealed off and trucked to the Ontario County landfill, Carr said.
The village hired Abscope Environmental Corporation, of Canastota, owned by Cazenovia village resident Jerry Romagnoli, to do the work.
“It was flawless, to say the least. Everything went as planned, no problem at all,” Carr said of the demolition. “We had no asbestos issues – it was a perfect day because it was overcast and a light drizzle, so there was no worry for the neighbors [of asbestos particles in the air].”
The final design and number of spots available in the lot — which will be for fire department use only — has not been completed yet, but there could be up to 20 spaces ultimately created, Carr said.
The village also will work during the summer to create a vegetative buffer zone between the lot and the neighboring house at 8 Farnham St., Carr said.
The cost to the village for the total project — demolition, lot leveling and graveling, vegetative buffer planting — will be about $42,000, which was previously included in the 2014-15 village budget, said both Carr and Wheeler.
Wheeler said he understands some village residents might be unhappy by the cost of the project, but said he also is frustrated that something as simple as tearing down a building should cost $42,000.
“These overly stringent rules in place regarding particularly asbestos mean we had to treat the house as if it was some sort of tremendous environmental hazard, which it was not. That’s where I think our frustration should be directed,” Wheeler said. “The good news is that at end of day we’ll have nice, efficient parking lot for our firefighters, and … a nice buffer between the lot and the adjacent property, which will be more attractive. It will be valuable for village and fire department, and aesthetically more attractive for the neighborhood and people passing by on route 20.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.