Main Street reopens; owner removes building

The old "Chase" building was removed last Thursday.

The old “Chase” building was removed last Thursday.

The owner of the dilapidated building that caused a portion of Main Street to be closed for more than a week has torn down the crumbling structure.

Flint Stone, owner of the old “Chase” building, located at 44-46 Main Street, had what remained of the building torn down last Thursday, less than 48 hours after he was arrested for failing to comply with code enforcement violations.

Stone, 41, of Fort Ann, turned himself over to Whitehall Police last Tuesday after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. He was charged with failing to comply with a written order to remedy violations as ordered by code enforcement officials, an unclassified misdemeanor.

A portion of Main Street adjacent to Stone’s property had to be closed on March 9 after a few dozen bricks fell from the building’s façade and landed on the sidewalk and in the roadway.

The sidewalk directly in front of the building had already been closed for months because of fears falling debris may injure passersby. Officials had been trying to compel Stone to finish demolishing the building for months, but those efforts had failed to produce any results and the matter was turned over to Washington County Code Enforcement.

County officials issued an order to remedy on Dec. 11, 2012, but Stone never acted on the mandate and after failing to comply with a court summons, a warrant was issued for his arrest last week.

After turning himself in, Stone moved quickly to have the building removed and by Thursday evening it was nothing more than a pile of rubble.

Although Main Street was reopened to traffic Friday morning, crews were still sorting through the debris on Monday morning, separating and stacking the bricks to be sold and reused. The adjacent sidewalk remains closed.

Stone was arraigned in Whitehall Village Court last Tuesday and ordered to appear at a later date.

While Stone was having the building removed, an unrelated issue caused a portion of Main Street between Saunders Street and the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company to be closed for a period of nearly 24 hours as the Department of Public Works made emergency repairs to a section of sewer.

Don Williams, Superintendent of Public Works, said a sewer pipe running underneath Main Street breached, allowing it to become full of dirt. Over time the dirt built and gravel built up preventing the flow of waste.

Crews had to dig down 18 feet to remove the line and install 160 feet of new pipe.

The street was reopened Friday evening and Williams said the problem has been fixed.

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