ONEONTA _ A group of Upper East Street-area residents has asked the town of Oneonta to either secure or tear down a fire-damaged house and bill the owner for the expense.
Twenty-five residents signed a petition stating that 350 East St. has become a nuisance since it was damaged in a March 2005 fire.
The petition was submitted to the town March 11, and the town code enforcement officer was asked to examine the situation and make a report to the town board by its April 9 meeting, Oneonta Town Supervisor Robert Wood said Monday night.
"I really can't make a judgement until I get the report from the code officer," Wood said.
The house is owned by Dennis Kropp, who lives in the town of Maryland. Kropp, his wife and their children were preparing to move into the home when the fire occurred, he told The Daily Star in 2005.
The fire caused extensive damage to the basement and first floor of the home, according to fire officials at that time.
Kropp said Monday his family intends to build a home on the property or refurbish the boarded-up house. Financial obstacles have prevented the family from doing so sooner, he said.
But Lisa Barr, who owns property near the home, but lives in Illinois, said the home has become a nuisance because of unsecured entry points for people and rodents. It also has a backyard pool that has become a haven for mosquitoes, she said in a letter to the town board.
Molly Swain, who lives on nearby Lower Reservoir Road and signed the petition, said it doesn't matter to her if the building is refurbished or torn down.
"I have no preference at all, but something needs to be done," Swain said. "It's been really a sore point for all of the neighbors around here. It just doesn't look good."
Kropp said that two years ago the town asked him to make improvements to the property.
"That's what I did," Kropp said. "Now it's totally compliant with the town."
Barr said that is not the case, and she is hoping the town will take action.
"I'm glad they are going to take a look at it," she said.