Demolition of old sandstone structure at a standstill in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The state Department of Labor halted demolition work in April on this sandstone building in Albion.

The DOL said the work is suspended until an asbestos removal permit is secured.

ALBION – Dan Dunn in mid-April started tearing down a hulking sandstone building along the Erie Canal. The 5,000-square-foot site didn’t have a roof, a tree was growing in the middle and had been declared an unsafe structure by the village.

Dunn took out most of one wall before the work was halted by the state Department of Labor. The agency said Dunn failed to secure a proper asbestos removal permit.

Nothing has happened at the site since then and Dunn told the Village Board on Wednesday he intends to file an Article 78 court action against the DOL, contending the agency was wrong to stop the work on the building.

“It’s needed to come down for a long time,” Dunn told the Village Board. “I’ve been prepared to take it down.”

The DOL insists Dunn needs to hire a certified asbestos removal contractor. But Dunn, who works in the salvaging business, thinks he can do the work himself even though he isn’t a licensed asbestos removal contractor.

Dunn said the law allows the owner of a building that is classified as residential to remove asbestos without a certified contractor. He wants to wrap the pieces of non-friable asbestos in plastic and then have it hauled off to a landfill.

Although the building was classified as residential by the assessor, it was never used for housing and hasn’t been used in about a half century, village officials said. The building is one of the oldest commercial Medina sandstone buildings along the canal. It was once the home for a carriage-making business and later a furniture warehouse.

But the roof and floors have collapsed in the building years ago. The village wants it to come down. The Albion Historic Preservation Commission approved the site’s demolition.

Dunn said the Article 78 should force the DOL to make a decision on how the matter will proceed. He doesn’t want to hire a certified asbestos contractor and also an engineer for a job that he can do himself.

“I feel they are being unreasonable and will make it very costly,” Dunn said about the DOL.

The Village Board has been pressing Dunn to address the site. The board agreed to wait another 30 days to see if there is a court decision or other resolution from the DOL.