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Board puts home razing on hold

Board puts home razing on hold

A revised demolition moratorium that could save 23 Greenfield Ave. from destruction was completed on

A revised demolition moratorium that could save 23 Greenfield Ave. from destruction was completed on Monday, city officials said.

The red brick home on Greenfield Avenue is directly behind the North Broadway mansion owned by Ronald and Michele Riggi.

The Riggis purchased the Greenfield Avenue property for $1.1 million and want to demolish the historic home despite opposition from building preservation advocates and concerned city residents.

“The moratorium proposal is not a direct reaction to 23 Greenfield Avenue,” said Mayor Scott Johnson on Monday.

Johnson said the newly-worded moratorium would only apply to the demolition of buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places “or listed as a contributing structure.”

Johnson said 23 Greenfield Ave., which dates back to the late 1850s, is listed as a “contributing structure” in the National Register even though it is not in the North Broadway historic district.

He said the newly proposed moratorium, which will be the subject of a public hearing June 16 in City Hall, addresses the problem of protecting such contributing structures throughout the city, not just at 23 Greenfield Ave.

Johnson and the City Council issued an administrative hold on the demolition of 23 Greenfield Ave. last week to give city officials time to adopt a properly worded moratorium. The administrative suspension of demolition runs through July 7.

Anthony Izzo, assistant city attorney, said a revised demolition moratorium was finished just in time Monday afternoon so that the City Council can hold a public hearing on it on June 16.

Johnson said there were “problems” with the first demolition moratorium presented at the council’s June 2 meeting.

“We needed to table it and rework the proposed ordinance to better withstand any potential legal challenge,” Johnson said.

John J. Carusone Jr., the Saratoga Springs lawyer representing the Riggis, said Monday that the administrative suspension of demolition had the same impact as a moratorium, preventing his clients from taking down a building they own.

The Riggis have pledged to fight a demolition moratorium in court if the city adopts one June 16.

“We have to see what the City Council does first,” Carusone said on Monday.

He said he was not aware that city attorneys had drafted a new moratorium and started circulating it.

Izzo said the new proposed moratorium had to be ready for review seven days prior to the hearing, not counting Sundays.

Carusone said the city issued a stop work order about a month ago on preliminary demolition work at the Greenfield Avenue building.

He said the work was asbestos abatement that is required as part of the city’s demolition permit application.

Certain materials, including materials in or near the windows that were removed and on a side porch roof, tested positive for asbestos and were being removed, he said.

Carusone said all services — water, sewer, electric, gas — to 23 Greenfield Ave. were disconnected in anticipation of demolition.

The Riggis have not made public the reason they want to demolish the building, but the demolition would give their North Broadway mansion a larger back yard.

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