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Village may act on Water Street property at their next meeting

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MASSENA - According to Mayor James F. Hidy an agreement between the village and the owner of a derelict property at 68 Water Street appears to have expired without the necessary work being done.

At the board’s Jan. 15 meeting, the owners of the building, James and Mary Venier, were given until Sept. 1 to make the necessary repairs to bring the structure back up to compliance with the village code.

“Here it is Sept. 1, and it seems that nothing has been done to the building,” Mr. Hidy said.

The building is a currently vacant apartment building that was severely damaged by a fire in 2008.

At the January meeting, Mr. Venier said he felt the building could be saved.

“I think the building is salvageable, and I’m going to fix it,” he said.

Prior to deciding whether to demolish the building, Mr. Hidy said they must first take a closer look at the property.

“Step one would be to see if what we see is what’s actually there and that there’s no work going on,” the mayor said.

Mr. Hidy said he’ll discuss the property with Village Attorney Matthew McCardle and be prepared to discuss the property further when the village board meets again in two weeks.

Village officials said last winter the building was out of compliance with several criteria used to determine whether a property is a threat to public safety.

Those compliance issues include damage to 33 percent or more of its supporting foundation; fire damage severe enough to pose a threat to the safety, health and general welfare of the public; a failure to provide amenities essential to the healthy human habitation; and having parts so detached from the structure they may fall and injure members of the public.

And while the property was serving as an apartment building at the time of the blaze, since it has been vacant for more than 12 months, Code Enforcement official Ken McGowan reported to the board in January that a variance would be needed to keep it as solely an apartment building.

He noted that 68 Water St. falls in the village’s Central Business District, meaning apartments may only be located above a storefront or business.

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