‘Illegal Activity’ Suspected In Vacant Home
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – In an emergency meeting of the Oneonta Board of Public Service, 503 Main St. was declared blighted and unsafe after Deputy Code Enforcement Officer reported broken windows, a dangerous balcony and piles of garbage.
“We first heard about this property from a neighbor who reported that the owner had died and wanted to know what was going on,” Hester said. “We went over there, and it was very bad.”
The home had been registered as a vacant property with the city, so Hester sent a contractor over there to pick up the garbage. But a second neighbor soon called to report more trash had piled up, and that “multiple people” were seen going in and out.
Hester, with a police officer, went to inspect the property. “There are broken windows and a balcony I wouldn’t want anybody to go on,” he said. “This is unsafe.”
He said that when a contractor returned to the building, a man came out and claimed his was the owner, and threatened to have them charged with trespassing. “The contractor left,” he said. “He didn’t feel comfortable asking this man who he was.”
The board unanimously declared the building unsafe and blighted, and agreed to send a letter to the occupant notifying them that they had 30 days to vacate the building. The city would then go in and remove trash, board up all broken windows and secure the garage, which is allegedly in danger of collapse.
“It appears unsafe and unsanitary,” said Margery Merzig, board chair. “There are broken windows and a bad roof, and at this time of year, that’s unsafe.”
Merzig also ordered an inspection, with a police escort and a code enforcement warrant. “The police would like to see what’s going on there too,” she said.