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Village officials may act on Water Street property at their next meeting

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MASSENA — An agreement between the village and the owner of a derelict property at 68 Water St. appears to have expired without the necessary work being done.

At the board’s Jan. 15 meeting, the owners of the building — James R. and Mary Venier — were given until Sept. 1 to bring the structure into compliance with the village code.

“Here it is, Sept. 1, and it seems that nothing has been done to the building,” Mayor James F. Hidy said.

The building of vacant apartments was severely damaged by a fire in 2008.

“I think the building is salvageable, and I’m going to fix it,” Mr. Venier said at the January meeting.

Before deciding whether to demolish the structure, Mr. Hidy said, the village must take a closer look.

“Step one would be to see if what we see is what’s actually there and that there’s no work going on,” the mayor said.

Mr. Hidy said he’ll consult Village Attorney Matthew H. McArdle and be prepared to discuss the property further when the village board meets again in two weeks.

Village officials said last winter the building was out of compliance with several criteria used to determine if a property is a public safety threat.

Those compliance issues include damage to 33 percent or more of its supporting foundation; fire damage severe enough to pose a threat to the public; lack of amenities essential to the healthy human habitation; and parts of the building so detached from the structure they may fall and injure members of the public.

The building has been vacant for more than 12 months, code enforcement official Kenneth J. McGowan said in January, so a variance would be needed to keep it as solely an apartment building. The property falls in the Central Business District, meaning apartments have to be above a business.

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