For about the past two and a half years, a homeowner of a house on Buell Avenue/Route 315 in the Village of Waterville has been taking down on her own her former home that burnt.
Each week she’s bundled the burnt wood and materials into containers and put them out for village garbage collection in front of her new home a few houses down.
For well over a year, Waterville Village officials have discussed the matter, saying the demolition has left the back of the house vulnerable to collapse either on the road or in the creek behind. Also, construction debris is not generally picked up by the village Department of Public Works.
The owner has ignored two or three letters sent by Village Attorney Bill Getman, according to the discussion at last week’s Waterville Village Board meeting. But Mayor Gene Ostrander, who raised the issue, said there has to be a way to stop the woman from continuing to take down the house herself.
Turns out there is, or at least a way to prevent her from using the village as a disposal company. Because she no longer pays utilities on the property that had the fire, it is illegal for her to take garbage from there and set it at another village property, even if she is paying utilities on that second property.
“It’s no different than if she brought it in from outside the village,’’ Trustee Jim Younes said.
Ostrander and DPW Superintendent Jamie Bechy said they hear complaints all the time about the amount of debris set out each week and that the woman is allowed to tear down the house herself. Codes Officer Kevin English said the only route the village has is to give her a deadline for having the building torn down, then take her to court if she fails to do that.
Getman said the village can tear the building down and put a lien on the woman’s property taxes for the cost. He said the…