ONEONTA – In an order by county Judge John Lambert, owner Melania Pervu must make all repairs to the building at 195 Main St. before the Jan. 11, 2019 deadline or she could be held in contempt of court, according to a decision made Friday, Dec. 7.
“The city believes she violated the order, but understands the reluctance to issue a vacancy order before Christmas,” said City Attorney David Merzig.
Oneonta Hotel owner Melania Pervu, above, was back in county court in Cooperstown this morning after City Hall declared she had not met an Oct. 15 deadline to apply for building permits for all the deficiencies building inspectors had identified in the five-story structure at 195 Main St. County Judge John Lambert said he would issue a decision in this latest development by week’s end. Lambert had also presided at a Sept. 7 hearing where he outlined a schedule of improvements the Pervus – the wife and husband Nicolae – must make to forestall condemnation in early January. Inset, City Attorney David Merzig, left, waits as Lambert acts on a number of criminal cases before getting to the Oneonta Hotel. (Libby Cudmore and Jim Kevlin, www.AllOTSEGO.com)
COOPERSTOWN – County Judge John Lambert this morning supported Oneonta City Hall’s actions against Oneonta Hotel owner Melania Pervu in every particular, only extending the deadline for final action until January.
After conferring with lawyers for both sides for 40 minutes in chambers, Lambert, filling in as Supreme Court judge for Michael V. Coccoma, on assignment out of town, declared:
• One, city building inspectors must provide Mrs. Pervu with a comprehensive list of violations by Oct. 1.
COOPERSTOWN – Acting state Supreme Court Judge John Lambert today affirmed Oneonta City Hall’s decision, telling Oneonta Hotel owner Melania Pervu a few minutes ago that she must bring the building up to code by Jan. 11, 2019, or it will be vacated and she will be held in contempt.
COOPERSTOWN – In the first court hearing in City Hall efforts to evict tenants from the deteriorating former Oneonta Hotel building, City Attorney David Merzig made the city’s opinion very clear.
“We’re at the end of our ropes,” Merzig said today in state Supreme Court here. “We are not going to be held responsible if there is a fire in that building and 20 people die in downtown Oneonta.”
After ordering building owners Melania and Nicolae Pervu to fix multiple building code violations, the city deemed the building unsafe last November and stated that the Pervus had until April 30 to comply with the building codes before evictions would take place.
Merzig explained that those code violations were not rectified, and the city is looking to move forward with eviction proceedings as soon as possible.
“It is the city’s position that that ship has already sailed,” said Merzig, citing the nine-month window the city gave the owners.
Question: Can Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig’s administration make tough decisions?
For one thing, whether or not to condemn the Twelve Tribes’ blighted Oneonta Ford property has been hanging fire since before Herzig took office. He’s now in his second term.
There is state money in hand to demolish what is a public hazard and state money to prepare the site for new construction. All that’s hanging fire is a tough decision.
Now, the April 30 deadline to clear out the venerable but – city inspectors have found – dangerous Oneonta Hotel is passed. Where’s the decision that’s been promised for months?
City Hall’s Board of Public Service declared the property unsafe in January 2017, 16 months ago. And still the building is occupied, and businesses are functioning on the ground floor.
You have to ask, what’s City Hall’s liability –and that of local taxpayers — if a fire or some other misfortune were to happen?
It’s past time to make a tough decision. Question: Can the Herzig Administration make it?
Question 2: Common Council has barely debated any issue publicly in months. Where are the Council members?
ONEONTA – After finding “numerous violations” remaining at the former Oneonta Hotel, 195 Main St., City Hall has begun the process of evicting the remaining tenants following the passing of the April 30 deadline imposed for fixing building deficiencies.
“After review of all inspection reports, it is clear that numerous violations still exist,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “To protect the safety of the residents, general public, and our first responders, the city attorney is moving forward with vacating the building.”