Everyone living in an apartment building in New York’s North Country needs to find a new place to live…quickly. Their town has declared the building unfit for people to live in.
Residents at the Gray Gables Apartments on Route 9 in Chazy, right next door to the town hall, have been complaining about the property for a long time.
In an April letter to the town board, Chazy code enforcement officer Michael Tetreault, Jr. wrote that the property has long-standing issues with code violations.
Tara Glynn, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York has represented tenants there in a wide range of legal matters over the last four and a half years.
“The tenants have complained for years of significant problems, and we support the conclusions that were reached by Mr. Tetreault and the code office,” she said.
In March, the Clinton County Health Department visited the premises, finding constant mold and mildew smells, sewage leaks from a toilet improperly bolted to the floor and scattered debris.
While inspecting a unit in June, Tetreault took some photos, writing that he found a collapsed ceiling in the kitchen, a bathroom toilet and sink that didn’t work…and, in fact, no electricity or running water.
Earlier this month, he sent a letter to the owners, Frederick and Cecile Reus of South Hero, telling them that he’d deemed the building unsafe for human occupancy.
On Tuesday, the Chazy Town Board approved a resolution backing Tetreault’s finding.
Town supervisor William Arthur says this can has been kicked down the road long enough. “The safety aspect was brought to the top of the barrel, and that needed to be done,” he said. “We’re hoping that the decision will be made to rehab it — get an engineer, get an idea, rehab it, comply with all codes, and then open again.”
Unless and until that happens, Gray Gables will have to be vacant. Tenants have until this coming Monday, July 22nd, to move out. Town and county officials will work with them to help them find new housing.
“Housing ought to be safe,” Glynn said. “New York state law requires it, and we’re glad that the town has stood up for its citizens.”
“I have spoken to some political figures about money that could be available for low-income housing or for senior citizens, so rather than look at it as a negative, I prefer to see the positive side of it and hopefully go that way,” Arthur said.
None of the residents who were there Tuesday afternoon wished to speak with us on camera.
We also called the owners’ listed phone number. No one answered, and as of late Tuesday night, no one had returned the message that we left.