Press-Republican

Tuesday

May 13, 2014

Town considers burned-home demolition

Jailed homeowner has until May 19 to provide a cleanup plan

PLATTSBURGH — The Town of Plattsburgh is moving to demolish the remains of a home destroyed by fire in January.

The home at 310 Stafford Road on Wallace Hill is owned by Brenda Rabideau.

The one-story home was heavily damaged by fire Jan. 3, and the shell of the structure and gutted interior remain standing.

The remains of the structure were declared unsafe by Town Codes Enforcement Officer Steve Imhoff on April 4.

He said multiple attempts to contact the owner to discuss plans to remedy the situation initially yielded no response.

Under a Town Local Law, the town can then arrange for demolition of the home. That involves holding a public hearing on the matter and then seeking bids for demolition of the remains.

The town has since learned that Rabideau has been in Albion State Prison on drug charges since Jan. 21. That came to light after she sent a letter to the town asking for the assessment of the property to be lowered. 

Town Assessor Brian Dowling had already done that, reducing the assessment from $73,000 to $14,000 earlier this year. 

Imhoff said now that they know where Rabideau is, they need to serve her with a notice of their intention and give her a chance to respond. He said the town is willing to work with a property owner as long as some plan is in place.

The public hearing remains scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Monday, May 19, at Town Hall, 151 Banker Road. 

If there is no response before or during the public hearing, the town plans to seek bids for demolition. The cost of the work will be added to the tax bill for the property.

Rabideau will maintain ownership of the property as long as her tax obligations are met.

At the time of the fire, it was reported that she didn't have insurance on the property.

The fire was believed to have been caused by an electric space heater used to thaw water pipes.

Email Dan Heath: dheath@pressrepublican.com

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