Bethlehem eyes abandoned building

Building Dept. asks to secure property, board reaches out to bank

— Officials from the Town of Bethlehem Building Department have asked the Town Board for permission to secure an abandoned building on Monroe Avenue.

Town Building Inspector Gil Bouchard said a fire destroyed the home at 46 Monroe Ave. last November. The building was severely damaged and deemed unsafe.

Nobody has been living in the home since the fire and the bank has since taken over ownership of the property. Bouchard said the department has received complaints from neighbors about the building and recently, children and teens have been caught inside.

“It’s an emergency situation,” Bouchard said in an interview prior to the Town Board meeting of Wednesday, Sept. 11. “We’ve been getting calls and it’s dangerous.”

Bouchard said the Building Department hasn’t been able to get a response back from the bank or the former owners. Officials were seeking permission from the Town Board to board up any windows or doorways that are open to keep out trespassers.

The Highway Department would be asked to do the work. The costs incurred would then be added to the property taxes. The estimate is about $500.

“I would say the house is a loss,” said Bouchard. “It would take too much to fix, above what the house is worth.”

The decision was made at the Sept. 11 Town Board meeting to first ask the bank to pay for a construction company to do the work. If the bank once again cannot be reached, the issue will be revisited and the work done by the town.

“We just want to get this issue resolved before someone is hurt,” said Bouchard.

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