The Demolition Process
The City of Jamestown through the Department of Development removes condemned and blighted structures through a demolition only as a last resort; after all efforts have been made to work with the owner of the property through the code enforcement process. In some cases, the owner has walked away from the property, but that doesn’t remove the responsibility and accountability for the property. If a court order to demolish is effectuated and the demolition is completed, the costs of the demolition will be billed to the owner, and if not received, an attempt to recover the costs through the legal process is initiated with liens and a judgement.
The demolition process is a lengthy process that must be carefully carried out in a structured manner. After a court order has been granted in housing court with the owner being properly served; a Predemolition Asbestos Survey is ordered from an asbestos certified environmental company. If asbestos is found in the survey, a bid package to abate the asbestos is prepared and sent out to certified contractors, and is also available by request for certified contractors not on our mailing list by request. An independent third party air and project monitor is then hired by the City to oversee the asbestos abatement project. Once the the asbestos abatement project has been completed and a “clean letter” is provided to the City that certifies that the project has been completed to the NYS laws and rules governing asbestos removal, a bid for a “clean demolition” is prepared and sent to contractors that have demonstrated that they meet qualifications and have the proper insurance coverage to award them the demolition contract.
Funding for demolitions in the City of Jamestown have come from three different sources. The City funds demolitions using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from HUD to remove slums and blight. The City Council also appropriates a budgeted amount from the General Fund Budget for demolitions. In many cases, these funds are utilized for emergency demolitions due to structure fires or collapse of the structure when public safety is at risk. The City of Jamestown has also partnered with the Chautauqua County Land Bank (CCLB) to fund demolitions for properties that have been specifically removed from the County In-Rem Tax Foreclosure process for demolition due to the condition of the structure. Additionally, properties that are owned by the City, County, or by the CCLB have costs reimbursed to the City for the demolition by the CCLB through grant funding provided by the NYS Office of Attorney General that was the result of class action settlements from the housing mortgage crisis from large banks.