Bad odors, tax records complicate blight work

Clearing up blight sometimes involves clearing up documents and sometimes worse things.

A man who owns property next to a blighted property at 106 Hall St. in Sheffield told members of the Warren County Redevelopment Authority on Tuesday morning that he can smell sewage from the property when the weather is warm. The property is partially burned and that smell sometimes competes with the sewage, he said.

“It’s frozen solid at this time,” Tim McElhaney said. “When it’s warm out, you can smell the burned house or the sewage.”

“The property owner (John Filiatrault) has kind of abandoned the situation,” authority member Jamie Steffan said.

McElhaney said he would be interested in buying the property, depending on the price.

“I’ll tear it down,” he said.

Asked if the structure could be saved, McElhaney was skeptical. “Someone would have to spend a lot of money on a small house with no lot.”

In the case of a property in Clarendon that’s been before the authority for months, two properties share a tax identification number.

The 10 Railroad Street property has been declared blighted and the authority is working to have the structure torn down.

The owner of that property, Wanda Miller, is willing to give up the property but wants to be reimbursed for back-tax payments she has made.

“I’m not in favor of paying her when she’s part of the problem,” authority member Terry Hawk said.

The owner of the vacant lot next to the blight is willing to sell his property or allow access through his property to the blighted building, but the tax number situation has the authority shut down for the time being.

“We have his permission to do whatever we want,” Solicitor Andrea Stapleford said. “He’d like to sell (the property) for what he paid for it – $2,500.”

The Miller property is a commercial property and will have to be evaluated for asbestos before it can be torn down. If asbestos is found, a costly asbestos abatement procedure will have to take place before demolition. “Let’s assume we’re going to have to do that,” Hawk said.

The DiPierro property on Route 6 in Sheffield is also a commercial property. At that location, however, John DiPierro has informed the authority he would like to continue working with the building. He is using it as a storage facility, according to County Planner Dan Glotz.

The property does not have heat, water, nor electricity and there are problems with windows and siding, Glotz said. “The structure is in pretty dire need of repair.”

At the 2393 E. Fifth Avenue property in Glade Township owned by Emily Hecei, the authority received some news.

An attorney working with the mortgaging bank is trying to clear up the situation. “They are dealing with the bank and trying to sort through some things,” Stapleford said.

“It’s a good sign that they made contact,” Steffan said. “We’re asking that they remove their lien from the property.”

Although the approximately ten-acre property is valuable, the building on it is “going downhill daily,” according to authority member John Zavinski.

The authority asked Stapleford to keep in touch with the attorney and update the progress in March.

The members held off on acting on properties at 119, 121, and 123 Front St., Glade Township, due to the actions of the owner.

“As long as we see progress made, we usually back off,” Hawk said.

The authority members voted to table two issues. The first was the Passinger property at 102 Cottage Place, Russell. Lack of communication and clarity led Hawk to suggest tabling the matter, but he said the members should be “prepared to condemn this and move forward” at the March 19 meeting.

The members also tabled discussion of the Maurice Dickey property at 706 S. Main St., in Sheffield.

The efforts by the surviving children of the owner to clean up the property justify giving them a month. Steffan agreed to drive past the property and check on progress prior to the March meeting.