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Town moving to remove deteriorated house

It was time for some housekeeping matters to be dealt with by the Town Board at Tuesday’s work session.

At the top of the agenda was a house at 9 Cozy Lane on .086 acre that had deteriorated back in 2018 to the point of being a dangerous structure when neighbors first reported it to the Town.

Now the house, which the Town has fenced off for years, is beyond repair. A public hearing has been set for Dec. 3 to give the owner or relatives a chance to respond to multiple attempts to deal with the situation. Attempts to reach owner William Conroy have been unsuccessful. Town officials don’t know if Mr. Conroy is still alive, but someone has continued to pay taxes on the property.

Councilman Jim Colligan said the continued deterioration has resulted in making any entry into the house hazardous.

“We’re operating in the dark,” Mr. Colligan said, describing the house as “a total wreck.”

If Mr. Conroy is deceased, it would typically result in the town being informed via a probate court but that hasn’t happened.

In a special session following the work session Tuesday, the Town Board voted unanimously to set the public hearing and to again contact the out-of-state address to ask that Mr. Conroy or someone on his behalf show up or Zoom into that session.

If no one represents the owner at the hearing, it might become necessary for the Town to initiate a probate search, Town Attorney Robert DeStefano Jr. said. He acknowledged it could take time before the structure can be taken down.

A second situation arose over an application from Lawrence Devine to remove a bulkhead that is in disrepair near the third bridge.

Initially, Mr. Devine received a permit to remove the bulkhead, but it was subsequently determined that removal had to be halted because if the bulkhead is simply removed without being repaired or replaced, the roadway could be compromised, Supervisor Gerry Siller said.

The Town has temporarily used a rip rap in place while representatives meet with Mr. Devine, who believes the Town is responsible for the work. Town officials see this as a private project since the bulkhead is on Mr. Devine’s property. A meeting is planned to discuss the situation.

The Board accepted an unexpected grant from New York State in the amount of $23,917.95 to offset costs associated with the study of Fresh Pond water problems. Some of the costs of the testing of the water there were initially paid by the Fresh Pond Neighbors Association, but the Town has also contributed money to the project and awaits the results expected sometime before the end of the year.

During the work session, Mr. Siller noted that the new license requirements and fee structure for contractors and landscapers goes into effect this week. He predicted it may take a bit of time to ensure all who need to be licensed have done so.