Will It Come Down?

By Haley Burton

October 15, 2012 Updated Oct 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Action News has an update on home in Owego that the Village wants to tear down but the owner of the house says he wants to fix it up.

Joe Breitwieser owns 93-95 Chestnut Street. He says he bought the house more than a year ago at a tax foreclosure sale for $100.00.

He started renovating the home by removing an addition he said was dilapidated. On October 3, the Village of Owego issued a stop work order at the home stating the property is unsafe.

"I've been trying to do work on this property and I've been refused every time," said Breitwieser, "There are certainly issues with the house and I'm more than willing to repair those issues. If not, I am willing to tear down the structure."

The Village has asked Breitwieser to sign a "Right of Entry" form so Code Enforcement can get in and do an asbestos assessment but Breitwieser says he won't sign it because he doesn't believe the property is dangerous and unsafe.

He says he is taking a letter to the Village Board on Monday to ask if the Code Enforcement Officer will inspect the property and tell him what needs to be fixed. Breitwieser says the house is historical and has potential.

"My plan is to move into it and eventually fix it up. It was a four unit apartment house. After removing some of the additions, it'll probably end up being a three unit apartment house. But for the time being, I need a place to live," he said, "I was intending to move in here. I was about to turn power and water on and put the windows in to get in here and live in it."

If Breitwieser doesn't sign the "Right of Entry", the Village of Owego could get a court order to go in to do the asbestos assessment. The Village says any extra costs incurred will be placed on Breitwieser's property taxes.

Some neighbors have called the property an eyesore on Chestnut Street. The next door neighbor told Action News "the house speaks for itself." Other neighbors say it should stay.

"I really don't want to see it torn down because it's got potential and it may need a little work but we should keep it because it is part of Owego," said Bonnie Maslin, another resident of Chestnut Street.

Breitwieser says he has the finances to fix up the house to code. He says he already fixed up another property on Spencer Avenue.

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