Asbestos discovery delays demolition

B y Jaime Thomas

The discovery of asbestos in the old schoolhouse on Quaker Street has thrown a small monkey wrench in demolition proceedings.  The delay, however, is only temporary.

Jesse Howard, owner of Jesse Howard Properties and Building Co., told the Sentinel Tuesday that he has been hired by property owners Tom and Jerry Burke to demolish the Quaker Street structures that include the historic Quaker Meeting House, the former veterinary Clinic building and a private home.  The discovery of asbestos in each building, however, has resulted in the temporary suspension of the project.

“It’s not going to happen this week; I had a company go in and do an asbestos inspection, and they came up with a report for the building,” Howard said. “I have to do the procedure correctly.”

Howard was referring to state regulations that require such clearance before a building can be torn down, in order to avoid environmental hazards.

“It’s something they (the state) have always done, but they haven’t always been on top of it; it’s something they’re trying to catch up on,” Russell Bronson, Granville town code enforcement officer, said.

The notifications of asbestos and project suspension posted around the Quaker Street plot reference a New York State Department of Labor Asbestos Control Bureau code.

“The code requires the following to ensure the proper abatement of asbestos materials: licensing of contractors, certification of all persons working on asbestos projects, filing of notifications for large projects and pre-demolition survey of buildings to identify any asbestos that may be present,” according to labor.ny.gov.

On its website, the department also said it works closely with the environmental protection agency.

Howard said he was getting prices on Tuesday for asbestos removal.

“Once I figure out who’s going to remove it, the state has to have a 10-day asbestos removal notice, and then once that’s removed I’ll tear the buildings down,” Howard said. “It’s not at a standstill, it’s just going to slow down a little bit.”

Russell Kiggins, code enforcement officer for the county, said as of Tuesday he said he has not seen any paperwork for the property, and he is waiting on an application for demolition and a notice of asbestos removal before he can approve anything.

Howard said he understood there was concern surrounding the historical value of the building and that he welcome questions from anyone who wants to get in touch with him.

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