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House demolition

Workers rip off rotten wood from the former Stanley's Motel on Thursday, next to Toadflax on Route 9. The plant nursery is in the process of buying the property.

MOREAU — After a complaint last week, Toadflax is demolishing portions of a 200-year-old building even though the company hasn’t finished buying it yet.

“Historically, it’s too bad I couldn’t save it,” said Toadflax owner Rich Morris of the building, the former Stanley’s Motel. “I think it was probably one of the first buildings locally, in the early 1800s.”

The property is next to his plant nursery. It has a large, two-story building with porches that appears to be collapsing.

All the porches have been demolished now, and Morris is investigating the interior to see what can be saved of the main body of the building.

“It was all post and beam, it’s all hand-hewn,” he said.

He’s saving as much of the wood as he can, after removing the rotten portions.

“It’s too bad it got to the state it’s in,” he said. “I don’t know if I can save any of it — we gotta clean it up, get in there and stop the rot.”

Workers are separating the wood and stacking it on the property.

“Right now, we are reclaiming any wood in the building, so we can use it,” Morris said.

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He is also completing the purchase of the property.

Architects are designing a new building for him on the property, which would be his first store. Right now, other than his office, his only buildings are greenhouses.

Once he has a design, he will go to the Planning Board for approval.

But in the meantime, he got permission for the demolition.

The property is still owned by Robert and Roselyn Colletti of Elmwood Park, New Jersey. On April 1, the town’s building inspector, Matthew Dreimiller, cited the property for seven violations, including collapse of a portion of the house. Dreimiller told the Collettis to resolve the situation by April 30.

Morris responded to the citations, promising to handle the situation. However, this spring he took on a new business. He promised to start work at the end of July.

Demolition began in August after resident Dominick Tom complained at a Town Board meeting.

His written remarks, which he did not have enough time to read in full, linked Morris’ role as the Republican Committee chairman to the fact that the property owners haven’t been fined for missing the April 30 deadline.

“Mr. Morris is chairman of the town Republican Committee and this is an all-GOP board. So it’s not difficult to allege this whitewash is another case of politics, favoritism, lack of ethics and a refusal to enforce the town’s established laws,” Tom’s written remarks said. “As a citizen and registered ‘blank’ voter here, I don’t care which political party is in charge: I simply want nonpartisan adherence to the law.”

At the same Town Board meeting, the town hired an assistant building inspector and code enforcer, bringing the office up to two. The new hire, who is part-time, is Peter Goslaw.

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You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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