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Owner given deadline to raze house

The owner of an abandoned home has been given until the end of the month to demolish the structure, or else the town will do it.

Kenneth Kumm, who owns the burned-out home at 7464 Townline Road, was instructed by the Town Board to follow the terms of a July 20 legal notice to have the structure torn down in 30 days.

Town Attorney Robert O'Toole said if the owner doesn't comply, the town will complete the demolition and add the amount to Kumm's property tax bill.

Town officials have been fielding complaints from neighbors since early last year, when the home was gutted by fire and then boarded up. The officials said they worry children can enter the home through open crawl-space windows. An inspection earlier this year by the town Building Department found structural beams burned through more than half the structure. The matter was the subject of a public hearing in July at which the owner did not appear.

Kumm has claimed he is still waiting for money from his insurance company for the damage, officials said.

Meanwhile, an inspection of another structure at 2488 Reynolds St., which has been described as an eyesore by neighbors and officials, found no significant damage or dangerous mold in the basement, O'Toole said.

Town Water/Sewer Department crews pumped standing water from the basement of the home recently. Building Inspector Joe Caturia reported that nothing significant was found, and the structure's condition did not warrant further inspection, O'Toole said. Town crews will excavate on the side of the basement walls to determine if structural damage has occurred. Owned by Hao Zhang, the home has been in severe disrepair for years, according to neighbors.

Caturia is expected to deliver a report at the Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. today in Town Hall, 2800 Church Road.

The board also recently granted a property assessment reduction of $30,000 on a vacant lot at 10225 Niagara Falls Blvd., owned by David Buick of Niagara Falls.

O'Toole said that rather than fight a real property tax suit in court, the board lowered the assessment from $80,000 to $50,000. No structures are on the land, and no improvements are planned, he said.

A court fight would have cost more for the town than the amount of tax collected, he noted.

email: niagaranews@buffnews.com

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