Beaty St. property proves complicated

The City of Warren has been working for some time to ensure that the site of a murder-suicide in 2009 is demolished.

According to city officials, a change in approach could get that process moving.

Council heard an impassioned plea from a resident who lives near the 117 Beaty St. residence last month and was updated on progress at its meeting Monday night.

Building Code Official Mary Ann Nau said, “Since May, (the city) has been actively involved in trying to resolve the issue there.”

The city has been mowing the lawn and the Redevelopment Authority most recently addressed the property in May and tasked City Solicitor Andrea Stapleford with determining who is in charge of the property before taking action.

Nau explained that Stapleford is “working to try to acquire permission through the family to enter the property.” She said that the city would like to bring in an outside code inspector to inspect the property.

The property could also be demolished through the property maintenance code, but Nau said a “series of notifications (would need) to be done” and that the city is “not sure who the notifications would be sent to.”

Stapleford said last month that the name of the deceased man is still on the deed.

Nau noted on Monday that the city would be “in a better place with Stapleford asking permission to enter.”

She defended the importance of the inspection being done by someone independent of the city. “People came here and made a plea for something to happen. It would be far better to have someone independent making that assessment than someone that is already on staff. Down the road, someone could say it was not to (the) standard it needed to be (to be) demolished” if the inspection was conducted by city staff.

City Manager Nancy Freenock said the city “is taking a bit of a chance doing it this way. (The) inspector could come back and say the house is habitable if these things were done.”

In spite of the risk, she said that avenue would still be cheaper than opening an estate for the deceased male.

“If it turns out that it is uninhabitable, and we’ve had that feeling from some of the comments that have been made,” the building could be demolished, she added.

Councilman Sam Harvey asked if the city would use man-hours to demolish the property but not take over the property. “That is correct,” Freenock said. “We would place a lien on the property.” She explained that if, in the future, one of the heirs approached the city about utilizing the property, the city could negotiate with the heir on the lien.

Mayor Mark Phillips asked if the property could be burned and used as a training exercise for the fire department. “No we couldn’t,” Fire Chief Sam Pascuzzi said. “(It is) not in the burning ordinance. (There would be) a lot of hoops to go through that in the city. We’ve never had burns.”

Nau said that Mike Holtz, department of public works director, will accompany City Code Officer Alan Gustafson and the inspector if the city can gain access. They are “going to look at the property as demolition that could be done internally.”