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Discovery of asbestos complicates planned demolition of Newstead house

The demolition of a dilapidated home on Bloomingdale Avenue in Newstead was delayed after an inspector recently discovered asbestos there, Town Attorney Nathan S. Neill said after Monday evening’s Town Board meeting.

A motion to move forward on the property was originally on the agenda for the meeting, but was removed at the beginning by Supervisor David L. Cummings. The board will revisit the issue in March.

The house at 13907 Bloomingdale has fallen into disrepair over the last eight years. During a November meeting, the board learned that the property was potentially dangerous.

According to Neill, no one knows how much asbestos is in the house, because it is too structurally unsound to enter.

“They have to get the whole thing down as if it’s all asbestos,” he said.

“They have to treat the whole building like it’s contaminated with asbestos.”

The cost of the demolition will rise because of the asbestos, Neill said.

The asbestos was found after a contractor who originally bid on the job asked the town to have the house inspected. The job now will be put out for bid under a different set of conditions, Neill said.

“It’s different work rules, too,” Neill said. “They have to protect themselves from the asbestos.”

The cost of the demolition will be charged to the property owner, Thomas E. Cashman. However, Cashman has not paid taxes on the property in at least five years, Cummings said in November.

Neill said Cashman is aware of what’s happening to the property.

“He thought he didn’t own it anymore,” Neill said, explaining that Cashman thought the property had been taken over by someone else. “Apparently, that’s not what happened.”

In other matters, the usually spry Cummings entered the meeting using a walker and hobbled his way to his seat on the board.

The reason? He had his right knee replaced two weeks ago, about five years after he had his left knee replaced.

“Each year, they get better at it,” Cummings said, referring to the doctors who performed his knee replacement.