Owner threatens to close Schoharie tavern for good
Parrott House cited for several code issues
SCHOHARIE The owner of the historic Parrott House on Main Street in Schoharie is contemplating boarding up the tavern and hotel.
David McSweeney, who finished renovating the 19th century building the day before Tropical Storm Irene tore through the village, was ordered to close the facility Feb. 4 after failing to renew his operating certificates.
He said Wednesday he feels he’s being improperly targeted with a long list of corrections being required by the village code enforcement officer.
McSweeney said it took a week before he was given a list of items to correct following an inspection, and he said he lost his temper when he noticed one of the issues was a screw missing from an electrical box.
He said he was also ordered to strap down and barricade the facility’s propane tank, but he’s identified several similar tanks in the village that aren’t strapped down nor surrounded with concrete.
“I’m just going to board it up. We have danced through the hoops,” McSweeney said.
The Parrott House was the only business that stayed open after the flood — McSweeney recalled pulling a warm beer out of an overturned cooler for a resident after the flood.
The former Boston contractor made several emergency repairs but was given a temporary certificate of occupancy contingent on repairs continuing, according to Ian Feinstein, director of environmental health for the Schoharie County Health Department. Feinstein said McSweeney received a packet with information on renewing operating certificates and ignored them.
McSweeney, who has since paid more than $300 in fines and submitted his application, said he’s already lost thousands in revenue — along with eight employees — over the past 10 days of closure. The restaurant employed 12 people and most of them have moved on during the work stoppage, he said.
He said he lost about $1,200 worth of food Monday after having to turn away the Kiwanis Club, which holds its meetings there.
McSweeney said an electrician is fixing one of the issues — a $3,000 job to replace old electrical boxes in the basement, a situation that existed long before he bought the facility.
“The wiring here is over 140 years old,” McSweeney said.
Feinstein said he believes work McSweeney has completed so far brings the facility nearer to usability.
“We have been working with him very closely to make sure he gets his business back and running. As far as the Health Department is concerned, he’s almost done,” Feinstein said.
Village Code Enforcement Officer Joe Whipple said he doesn’t think McSweeney is being targeted and said there’s more to be corrected than just a screw in an electrical fixture.
“It’s all fixable,” Whipple said.
He declined further comment and referred calls to the village’s attorney, Michael Breen. Breen said Wednesday officials are just doing their job.
“Nobody’s picking on him,” Breen said.