Board of Civil Authority Meeting Minutes: August 22, 2019

Present: Priscilla Cotton, Carol Hesselbach, Gloria Cristelli, Abigail Dillon, Steve
Levine. Dennis Waring, property owner, and his wife, Susan Rosano, representing themselves, and Doris Knechtel, Frank Suponski and Dennis Wiswall, representing the Listers.

Priscilla Cotton, chair, called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
Each member present introduced him/herself.
The Chair administered the oath to the Appellants and Listers.
The Chair explained the process for the hearing.

Doris Knechtel described the property owned by Dennis Waring, the conditions considered by the appraisal, and the visits made by the Listers after the fire and after the request for a grievance hearing was made. She explained the reduction in value to the house that the Listers applied. Frank Suponski and Dennis Wiswall both commented that they thought the property was restorable.

Priscilla then invited Dennis Waring to describe his position. He asked his wife to explain. Susan Rosano described the report they had from the contractor hired by their insurance company and gave the Listers the only copy they had. The listers tried to review it while Ms. Rosano continued speaking. She also supplied one copy of photos they had taken. After looking at the Exhibits the Listers handed them to the BCA. Dennis Waring spoke about their belief that the house is uninhabitable and derelict.

The Listers gave brief comments regarding their inspections of the house but felt they could not respond to the large contractor report.

Steve Levine asked how the property was being used before the fire. The answer was they were using it for a vacation property and renting one apartment out. He asked was the insurance company agreeing to pay the amount that the contractor said the property would cost to restore. The answer was yes. Gloria Cristelli asked if the owner knew what the property had been insured for but the owner did not have that information.

Dennis Wiswall asked if only the downstairs was occupied at the time of the fire. The answer was yes. The house had 3 floors, the basement level apartment was rented the upstairs apartment consisted of the second and third floors but no one was living there. Gloria asked if the day after the fire was perhaps not the best day for the Listers to visit the property. Dennis Waring replied that it was a very busy, confusing time at the house.

There were a number of people there, fire inspectors and such. He does not think the Listers realized the extent of the damage that day. He said the he did not realize the amount of damage right away.

Gloria asked why the Listers could not enter the property on their second visit and was told that there had been no request.

Susan Rosano advised that they did not get the insurance company report until late June.

Steve asked if the Listers would have come up with different figures if they had the report. Dennis Wiswall said that the ceiling sheetrock had been torn down and they could see where the fire had extended up to the roof. Susan Rosano explained that the fire inspector determined that the fire was started by a cigarette thrown into a trash container by the tenant and that they were not supposed to be smoking there.

Steve Levine asked if the insurance company felt it was best to repair the house and not tear it down. The response was that the insurance company did not really express an opinion, just what they would pay.

Discussion led by Priscilla Cotton about finished area and price per square foot suggested by the report. Comments were made regarding lingering fire odor and how that is handled if the house is not demolished.

Priscilla asked for volunteers for the inspection committee. The committee will be made up of Steve Levine, Gloria Cristelli and Abigail Dillon. After discussion the site visit was scheduled for Wednesday, August 28 th at 2 PM. The committee will meet at 12:30 PM at the Williamsville Hall to go over the inspector’s report. The Clerk will make copies and Gloria will pick them up.

After discussion, it was agreed that the hearing to receive the committee’s report will be September 17.

Priscilla Cotton recessed the hearing until September 17 at 6:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted by,

Carol Hesselbach
Recording Clerk of the BCA