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Connellsville's 'sky toilet' building to come down

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 6:48 a.m.

Rodney Allen, the owner of many properties in Connellsville, has until the end of August to demolish the dilapidated “sky toilet” building located at 105-107 W. Crawford Ave or face violations and fines.

Tom Currey, the city's health and code enforcement officer, told board members Monday night that Allen has a demolition permit issued by Fayette County that is valid until August.

Currey said Allen was issued the demolition permit almost 10 months ago, but he has failed to take action to tear down the building.

“If he does not take action to demolish the building soon, I will write him a letter to remind him of the August deadline,” Currey said. “The city's demolition permit is only good for 30 days.”

After the deadline passes, Currey said he plans to issue violations to Allen.

“I will begin writing him citations on a daily basis until the building is torn down,” Currey said.

Health board member Johanna Harden said she heard that “the building will be gone in two weeks.”

“I guess we will have to wait and see what happens,” Harden said.

In other business, Currey told health board members that Richard Stewart was fined $2,000 in Fayette County Court Monday for various violations at a house he owns at 404½ Eliza St. The house was recently declared a public nuisance after many cats were found inside and city police and the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) responded.

“We declared the house a public nuisance,” Currey said. “We wrote him (Stewart) citations. We were in court today, and he said he needs a lawyer to represent him. He received a sheriff sale notice, and the bank is suing him. He has two weeks to figure out what he wants to do. We're going to ask the judge to find him guilty. The neighbors could decide to buy the house and tear it down.”

When city police were called to a four-unit apartment building at 915-917 Sycamore St., Currey said they found an apartment in deplorable condition. An unidentified woman suffering from Hodgkin's disease was unable to take care of herself and the apartment. She was transported to Highlands Hospital for medical treatment.

“She was sick and was unable to take care of herself,” Currey said. “The police did an inspection of the property. They found garbage everywhere. There was an infestation of fruit or drain flies.”

Board member Lucille King asked if the woman had a family who was taking care of her.

“There are no family members who can be of any help to her,” Currey said. “The police did take her to the hospital, and she was taken to a safe and clean place.”

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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