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Town eyes old building for demolition

July 17, 2013
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN- Johnstown officials have decided to go forward with a demolition order on a house on Elmwood Avenue, but the town may not have to raise a hammer against it.

During a hearing Monday night on the building, at 124 Elmwood Ave., Mike Kratky of 109 Branch St. said he was in the process of buying the building from the current owner, David K. Bradt.

Kratky said a title search will be done on the building to make sure there are no lien on the property before he buys it. Once complete, Bradt would give Kratky the title.

"Being such a dubious property, the 70-year history of it, the title search is the next thing," Kratky said.

Kratky said he and Bradt have a contract, and once the title is in Kratky's hands, he plans to demolish the building.

"Anything you want done right, you have to do yourself," Kratky said.

Kratky said arrangements were being made to demolish the building. Bradt said he was demolishing the building himself as well.

Bradt showed a purchase agreement for the property, but it has not been signed.

Bradt said he has not showed a plan for the building's repair to town Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Fagan.

Bradt said he had been repairing the building to try and get it to code.

"As long as he buys it, there is no need for me to go through and show how I am going to fix everything," Bradt said.

Councilwoman Beth Schloicka said it didn't matter who owned the building - it would need to be either demolished or repaired.

According to town Supervisor Nancy MacVean, the board did decide to go ahead with the demolition order.

MacVean said the sale is pending, but if it were to fail, Bradt would have 60 days to repair the building or have it demolished.

If the building is not demolished by Sept. 30, the town may conduct the demolition and bill the owner.

Fagan said Bradt has previously tried to get it fixed, but engineers brought to the site declined to do any work.

During the hearing, Bradt said he disagreed with Fagan on the course of the plan. Bradt said he has been working on fixing the house himself.

Schloicka said she wanted a resolution ordering the demolition for their records.

Councilman Walter Lane said the order asking for the repair or demolition of the home within 60 days counts.

The building has a history of disrepair, Fagan said.

The property, on the corner of Branch Street and Elwood Avenue, was investigated under a previous owner and was deemed unfit for occupancy. Complaints about the property were first sent in 2010 from the Berkshire Volunteer Fire Department, Fagan said.

Fagan said several electrical issues were cited on the building, as well as unpermitted additions to the building.

"More importantly were the structural concerns," Fagan said in June, with no suitable foundation under portions of the house.

Structural and dimensional lumber also was used on the roof, rather than roofing material.

Arthur Cleveland can be reached by email at acleveland@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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