House On Maple Avenue To Be Torn Down

Residents living in the vicinity of 71 Maple Avenue may soon have to wake up to the sight and sound of cranes and bulldozers.

The boarded-up ramshackle house that stands at this address is set to be razed to the ground, thereby bringing to an end a long saga of flagrant violations, unheeded notices, and grave safety concerns.

“The building will be destroyed because it’s been condemned [by the village]. It’s been designated as unsafe,” said James Palmer, village manager.

At its September 24 meeting, the board of trustees took a decision to award the contract for demolition to a Connecticut-based company: Standard Demolition Services.

After a few years of wrangling with the owner—legal and otherwise—on June 27, this year, the village made an offer to purchase the property for a sum of $475,000.

Rather than having to go through a process of protracted litigation and then, have the property transferred to another owner, the village decided to buy it, said Whitney Singleton, village attorney.

As part of a comprehensive settlement deal reached with the local justice court, the county supreme court and the village, the owner agreed to pay $100,000 in outstanding bills and fines (including back taxes and utilities) and an additional $47,500 in legal costs.

“This boils down to the village actually spending $327, 500,” said Palmer.

Since 2005, the owner Vincent D’Allura, a Bedford Hills resident, had been issued multiple notices for a string of violations of the New York State Property Maintenance Code, the Residential Code of the State of New York, and the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.

“No less than 300 violations were cited,” said Singleton.

These pertained to serious structural issues involving collapsing or sagging ceilings, inoperative and overburdened electrical outlets, leaking natural gas lines, and a lack of cooking facilities, among others.

The abysmally poor condition had rendered the building unsafe and unfit for human occupancy. Quoting the owner, Singleton stated, “The property owner actually acknowledged during an inspection that the conditions in parts of the building were ‘so bad it’s scary.’”

The village went to “extraordinary measures” to afford D’Allura an “opportunity to correct his violations,” he added.

However, despite being repeatedly alerted to the house’s defects and being sent several requests to vacate the premises, the owner made little effort to set the house in order.

“[The owner] clearly doesn’t live in the same world as you and I do. We sent him numerous reminders, but all that he did was to paint his front door,” Singleton said.

Recalcitrance on the part of D’Allura finally took the matter to the doorsteps of the county supreme court in White Plains. “The village of Mount Kisco went to the supreme court to get authorization to vacate and secure the building,” Singleton said.

“The village administration and staff won’t permit any condition to persist that might jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of its residents. Safety is the most fundamental component of the village government’s obligations to its residents and that’s precisely why the building was secured,” he wrote in an e-mail response.

D’Allura could not be reached for comment.

Discussions about how best to use the 50 x 100 feet parcel are already underway. Once the dust from the demolition settles, the embattled property could pave the way for a cluster of affordable housing units.

Palmer said that the complex will most likely house emergency workers. Mayor Michael Cindrich has formed a committee to oversee future construction on the site, he said.

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