Press-Republican

Local News

June 13, 2014

Road to dream home bumpy

PORT HENRY — A building lot with fabulous lake views was created with the razing of two rundown homes on Rice Lane in Port Henry.

Hugh and Linda Phillips of Glens Falls, who bought the property in the Essex County Tax Auction on April 30, are tearing down the vacant structures and clearing the lot for construction of a new home.

Demolition is about 75 percent complete, with Mineville heavy-equipment contractor Sam Meachem doing the work.

Both homes had been damaged by minor fires in recent years, and the previous owner hadn’t paid the taxes since 2006.

CAMPERS LOVE AREA

Although there were some bumps in the process, with the Village of Port Henry, Moriah Town Board of Assessors and State Department of Environmental Conservation all giving them conflicting instructions, it worked out in the end, Mr. Phillips said.

The lot is on a bluff overlooking Lake Champlain.

“Our goal was to have a view,” Mr. Phillips told the Press-Republican. “It was our dream, where we want to build our retirement home.”

He said they’ve spent their last few summers at the Port Henry Village Campground on Lake Champlain and fell in love with the area.

They got the property for $8,250 in the tax sale, and once the county had issued them a deed, Meachem got to work on the teardown.

DEMOLITION DEBRIS

Because two houses existed on one lot, located at 28 and 30 Rice Lane, the DEC provision that demolition debris can be buried on site didn’t apply, so the Phillips had rubble from the first house hauled away to a landfill that accepts such waste.

But getting the property designation changed from multifamily assessment code 280 to single-family code 210 was a nightmare of bureaucracy, Mr. Phillips said.

He said DEC officials told him he could bury debris from the second house at the property, but the Moriah Board of Assessors told him he couldn’t.

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