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Charleroi orders man to fix up Crest Avenue home or demolish it

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The owner of this structure at 909 Crest Ave. in Charleroi was told by borough officials Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, he must either begin repairs to the building immediately or demolish it.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
The owner of this structure at 909 Crest Ave. in Charleroi was told by borough officials Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, he must either begin repairs to the building immediately or demolish it.

Michael Claybaugh began renovations shortly after he purchased a home at 909 Crest Ave., Charleroi, in 2008.

But he never completed the work. And since then, the building's condition has deteriorated.

Now the borough and at least one neighbor want Claybaugh to demolish the house where he apparently no longer resides.

Michele Mackey, Charleroi code enforcement officer, said a demolition order was sent to Claybaugh on Sept. 20. He has 60 days from the date of that order to demolish the property.

If Claybaugh does not demolish the property by Nov. 20, it could be placed on the borough's list of properties to be razed.

If it must be demolished by the borough, the legal process could take months or even years, Mackey said.

“It's been an ongoing problem for awhile,” Mackey said.

Claybaugh lived in the Crest Avenue home for a while and was picking up his mail there, Mackey said. But recently, the mail was piling up, she said.

Mackey inspected the inside of the property Tuesday with Claybaugh. The interior of the structure is being supported by some beams, but Mackey ordered Claybaugh to further reinforce the interior of the structure. She said the building is “gutted and not habitable at this time.”

Mackey told Claybaugh he must either begin repairs to the building immediately or demolish it. She told Claybaugh she wants to either see repairs begun or demolition commencing by Nov. 20.

The residence has “many external problems,” Mackey said. The grass needs to be mowed, there is rubbish scattered around the yard and the porch is unstable, being held up by straps. Bricks are coming loose on the corner of the building.

“He tried to do some improvements, but he did not finish,” Mackey said.

Candace Devers, who lives in a rental property at 911 Crest Ave., wrote a letter to Mackey in September listing concerns about the property next door.

Mackey said Devers' concerns involve the condition of the foundation and the porch.

A building permit was issued for the property in 2008, shortly after Claybaugh bought the residence. He lived there for a while while doing improvements, Mackey said. But the work ceased and Claybaugh apparently moved.

Mackey began citing Claybaugh in July. Because he failed to respond to the citations, Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins of Charleroi had issued warrants for Claybaugh's arrest. But following his meeting with Mackey, Claybaugh paid off all of his fines, totaling $1,501.

Candace Devers said her residence is only about 5 feet from Claybaugh's property.

“I want it shored up so it doesn't fall on my property over here,” said Devers.

Devers said as Mackey exited the 909 Crest Ave. structure, she told the neighbor, “I'm on top of it. If you need anything, call me.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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