14 Culvert St.

Seen here is an apartment building at 14 Culvert St. in Glens Falls that was damaged by fire in September 2016. The property owner has submitted plans to demolish the structure by the end of the month.

GLENS FALLS — The owner of the burnt-out building on Culvert Street has submitted plans to demolish the building, hopefully by the end of the month, a city official said Tuesday.

Code Enforcement Officer John Ward told the Common Council that demolition plans were filed last week for the 14 Culvert St. property, which an arsonist set fire to in September 2016.

“They are supposed to take that down the last week of October,” he said.

The application had a technical issue, according to Ward. It needed confirmation from National Grid that the electrical service to the property was cut. The owner spoke with the utility company, who said that the city could provide that information.

Ward said the city officials do not make that determination.

Owner Mike Stevens said previously he plans to build six two-bedroom townhouses at the property, which he bought in February for $1 from former owner Bill Davidson.

The building was heavily damaged on Sept. 16, 2016, when Aditep S. “Tepi” White threw a cigarette butt into a flower pot on an upstairs porch and it caught clothes on fire. The fire displaced 13 tenants.

Diamond said he is glad action is being taken.

“It sounds like the current owner is trying to take the next necessary steps to resolve the issue,” he said.

The 14 Culvert St. site was one of two properties that were the subject of a public hearing about abandoned properties. The other one, at 31 Grand St., has been cited for code violations. Furnishings, mattresses and other household items are piled up in various rooms. The roof is sagging and a barnlike building on the property is in poor condition.

Heather Whalen, who is listed as one of the property’s owners, appeared before the council to say she was fine with the building being razed.

“It’s been in foreclosure for seven years. Demolish it. I want nothing with it,” he said.

Diamond said the council would prefer that the property be repaired.

“It’s unrepairable,” Whalen said.

She said the situation is complicated, because three parties are involved — her, her mother and an ex-husband. She said she was not sure what to do.

Diamond said the city would be in touch.

Roger Brodeur, who lives at 28 Grand St. and owns rental property at 29 Grand St., told the council that the 31 Grand St. property has been a nuisance for seven years.

“There’s been broken glass. Children have been breaking in there, I don’t know what they’re doing,” he said.

“Our neighbors told us that someone had shot the windows with a pellet gun, so there’s three holes in the window,” he added.

Skunks and mice are living in the garage, which is falling in, and tiles from its roof are blowing into his yard, Brodeur said. A fence in the back keeps falling down.

If the property became available, he said he would be interested in buying it.

Diamond said the property has been in limbo with the bank, which has not officially foreclosed, although the taxes are being paid.

He said he understands that the neighbors are frustrated and the city hopes to address this problem.

Ward said he believes the building is beyond renovation.

“It’s unfixable. It’s a mess. There is no way to rehab that place and ever make it right,” he said.

“People have different perspectives and options on rehabilitation of properties,” Diamond said.

The city has been focusing on trying to clean up vacant properties and get them back on the tax rolls. In related news, the council on Tuesday accepted a bid of $75,000 from Dan Girard to buy the vacant warehouse at 222 Maple St.

Diamond said he isn’t sure what Girard plans to do, but he has a good track record of redeveloping other buildings in the east end of the city.

Diamond said, with this sale, Glens Falls only has three properties left that it owns but wants to get back on the tax rolls. In addition to the historic house at 5 Culvert St. that belonged to a 19th century doctor, the city wants to sell the property it seized for back taxes at 12 Montcalm St. and the condominium it condemned at 19 East Notre Dame St.

You can read Michael Goot’s blog “A Time to Learn” at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter @ps_education.

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reporter

Reporter for The Post-Star, covering the city of Glens Falls, town and village of Lake George and northern Warren County communities.

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