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Homeowner: $22,000 town demo bill halts home sale

The Town of Brighton is giving a local woman 30 days to tear down a home damaged by a fatal fire last year (WHAM photo)

Brighton, N.Y. - It has been just more than a year since Janet Gordon lost her 97-year-old mother and home to a fire. She also had to be rescued from their Brighton home on Landing Park when fire ripped through it last April.

"I can still see the fire and my mother on the gurney," said Gordon. "It's been very, very emotional and very difficult."

Gordon thought she was going to get some closure this week by selling the property as is to a buyer willing to demolish and rebuild the charred house. But at the last minute, the deal did not go through.

"The town board's attorney told my attorney yesterday [Thursday], too little too late; we're doing it and (they) want to charge me [nearly] $22,000," said Gordon.

That bill, according to the town, is to cover the cost of demolition.

The town tells 13WHAM they have little choice but to move forward with demolition because Gordon did not meet a deadline set earlier this year to do it herself.

On March 9th, a public hearing about the property at 36 Landing Park was held. During that meeting, the town unanimously passed a resolution giving Gordon 30 days to demolish the home.

According to Brighton Public Works Commissioner Tim Keef, because that deadline was not met, the town has little choice in the matter but to go ahead with the demolition.

Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle addressed Gordon during that meeting saying, "We need you to act within that time frame - because if not very reluctantly, but I believe very necessarily, we would then have to proceed."

But Gordon does not understand why there is not an exception; she says the town knew a sale was pending and her buyer is ready to have the demolition done once the sale is complete.

"I'm very put off by the fact that it's been moving right along and then suddenly out of the blue I get a day like yesterday [Thursday] where everything just fell apart," said Gordon.

According to Gordon, the buyer was prepared to tear down the home for perhaps a third of the cost, with no bill to the town or Gordon.

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