Owner of run-down home given ultimatum

South Bethlehem eyesore must be cleaned up within the month

— The owner of a dilapidated home in South Bethlehem has been court ordered to have the property cleaned up within a month.

James Albertine, who owns the home on Willowbrook Avenue in Selkirk, was brought to court by town Building Inspector Gil Bouchard on Tuesday, April 25, because of his failure to fix up the property when asked. Albertine agreed to clean the property within a certain time limit rather than receive a fine.

“All I’m looking for is to have the area safe and the property cleaned,” said Bouchard, who claims the property has been a source of complaints from neighbors in the community for years.

Albertine was ordered to demolish the run down garage and fill in the empty pool within 30 days by Judge Mark Jordan. He was also given 10 days to board up the windows on the building until they can be fixed and clean up any brush or debris on the property. If he shows proof the work is done within the allotted time, the situation will be resolved.

The 64-year-old homeowner said he is fine with the outcome since he planned all along to fix up the property to sell, but money had been an issue.

“It’s been a slow process,” he said. “I contacted a contractor and it was going to cost over $1,000 with the wood and paint. I had to save up the money.”

According to Albertine, he and his wife lived in the house for more than 25 years and raised 18 foster children there. In 2008, his wife was injured and it was hard for her to live in the home, so they moved out with their foster son. The family now lives in Albany.

Albertine claims very little was wrong with the home until Hurricane Irene caused the creek behind the property to flood in August of 2011. He said the empty pool had always been an issue for the town, but the house and garage were left intact and locked with some property still inside.

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