Building eyed for demolition

JOHNSTOWN – The Town Board has scheduled a hearing to discuss the remediation or demolition of a building at 124 Elmwood Ave. after complaints were listed against it.

The Town Board announced the hearing after complaints from Mike Kratky, of 109 Branch St. Kratky said the building was a blight on the area and lowering property values.

“It is a condemned property, illegally occupied, and it’s just a real eyesore,” Kratky said.

Kratky also complained the blight is already spreading, with a neighboring house falling apart as well.

“I know we have ordinances, blight laws on the books,” Kratky said.

Johnstown Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Fagan said the property, located 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.

“[It was] an empty building and every now and then they would get surges of water. The people who owned the building would call for a pump out, and that was our first opportunity to go through the house and see the conditions,” 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, with no suitable foundation under portions of the house.

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

Since the do-not-occupy order was given, Fagan said, the building has been sold.

Fagan said the property is currently owned by David K. Bradt.

Bradt was not available for comment.

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

“Unfortunately, no one would touch it with a 10 foot pole,” Fagan said.

A demolition permit was taken out last year, but Fagan said it expired.

Fagan said after speaking with Town Attorney Cathi Radner, the Town Board could proceed on a public hearing for condemning the building.

The hearing is scheduled July 15 at 6:30 p.m.