Apartment building set to be razed gets reprieve

An apartment building that was recently the site of an emergency gas leak and was closed by the village was given a one-month reprieve from being torn down after action by the Salem Lakes Village Board Monday.

The 20-unit building is at 8705 Antioch Road in Salem.

Village building inspector Jack Rowland recommended the building be razed and a public hearing was held on the razing Monday. Rowland mentioned issues such as crumbling cement block and brick and rotting sill plates. Others mentioned the roof needing repair.

Brian Schuk, an attorney representing the owners of the building, said the owners acknowledge the building is in disrepair, but they would like a chance to make it habitable again.

“The property is having to some extent things falling apart and that need to be repaired,” Schuk said. New windows and door were being installed even before the closure, he said.

Trustee Ron Gandt pointed out that while the closing of the building is new, problems with the property are not and have been going on for over a year.

“There have been warnings, warnings and warnings,” Gandt said.

To which Schuk replied: “You’re absolutely right, it shouldn’t have taken so long.”

Fire Chief Mike Slover said fire safety issues found at the building during the gas leak response have been addressed, but he felt other issues still mean the building has life safety problems.

Schuk asked for a comprehensive list of problems with the building from the building inspector so the owners could evaluate and price the needed repairs.

“We haven’t been given a chance to do that,” Schuk said. “The investment is substantial no matter how you look at it.”

Several board members expressed willingness to have the owners come back with a plan in 30 days, but little patience for waiting beyond that.

“Come back with a plan,” said Trustee Ted Kmiec.

Trustee Dan Campion said he felt the time for presenting a plan in his mind may have already passed.

“I was hoping you would come to us with a plan (Monday), so I am sort of disappointed,” Campion said. “The only time we got any action was when we closed it down.”

The vote to allow the 30-day reprieve was unanimous by voice vote, with Trustee Dennis Faber absent.

“That’s all I’m giving you,” village President Diann Tesar said after the vote. “You’ve got a lot of work there. You’ve got  lot of work to satisfy this board.”


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