Urbin Report

Friday, September 12, 2003

Oh No! They Did It Again!

(September 12, 2003) — The city is being accused for at least the second time this year of tearing down a building by mistake — but this time, city officials seem somewhat more willing to take the blame.

Raymond R. Mielcarek filed a notice of claim against the city in late August, stating that his five-car garage at 865 Clifford Ave. was erroneously demolished in May, and with it tools and machinery estimated to be worth about $14,122 destroyed. The garages have a replacement value of roughly $27,360, according to the claim.

Mielcarek could not be reached for comment.

The intended target, a vacant carriage house believed to be at 855 Clifford Ave., was easy to miss, said Community Development Commissioner Linda Stango. For one thing, it was obscured by a house. For another, it wasn’t actually on Clifford Avenue.

City attorney Jeffrey Eichner said the city was still in the process of reviewing the claim, which includes a nine-page spreadsheet listing the contents of the garages.

Meanwhile, the building that was supposed to be demolished, at 855 Clifford Ave., remains standing. Stango said it would likely be torn down in an upcoming round of demolitions.

The city has mistakenly torn down buildings before, including a house at 75 Maria St. three years ago, and another building eight years before that. About 350 structures are demolished each year.

“ I don’t remember more than a couple (accidental demolitions) a year,” Eichner said. “ We don’t get a lot of claims on it. It’s very seldom.”