January 16, 2009

City panel rejects Ken Karl's appeal of house razing

The city’s decision 14 months ago to raze a historic house that building inspectors condemned got the backing Friday of an appeals panel weighing the owner’s complaint that the demolition came out of the blue and wasn’t necessary.
“The public safety does come first,” said Bruce Lydem, chairman of the three-person Building Code Board of Appeals.
Ken Karl, who owned the 313 Main St. home knocked down under orders from the city, said he plans to file an appeal with the state building code overseers. If he doesn’t win there, he said, he can take the issue to court.“It’s a process,” Karl said. “It will go forward.”
Karl argued to the city panel that Building Official Guy Morin’s decision to demolish the house in November 2007 was arbitrary and that he applied the law in an “unreasonable, unjust and unfair manner.”
But the city building code appeals panel said they didn’t see anything amiss with the way Morin handled the case.
Blake DellaBianca, a member of the board, said that Karl raised “a lot of issues that are not relevant.”
In addition, he said, it’s hard to go back over four years of complex interaction between Karl and the city to determine what happened, particularly since the house is gone now.
DellaBianca said that he believes Karl had plenty of notice that the house could be razed and failed to act on it.
“It doesn’t seem to me that he took the proper action to forestall” the razing of the 180-year-old house, DellaBianca said.
Given the problems with the structure, he said, “I don’t think Mr. Morin had any choice for the safety of the public.”
The city gave Karl “plenty of time” to take action, said Edward D’Amato, Jr, another member of the appeals panel.

Karl said afterward he never got any notice that the city planned to raze the house. He found out about it only after the wrecking crew had come and gone, he said.
The city sold the Federal-style house and the property to Karl in 2004 for $1, with the requirement that he move the house from the east side of Main Stree to a lot on the west side – a move required for completion of the library addition project.
Within months of the move, city leaders began fighting with Karl over what they perceived as his lax pace in renovating the structure.

Here is Ken Karl's website about the issue.

Here is the initial story about the demolition.

Here is what Guy Morin had to say about the issue shortly after the house's demolition.

Here is a Chronology of Events prepared by Guy Morin.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


aware said...

the only thing that karl wanted to do was milk the city and bear the profits.

Anonymous said...

Interesting makeup of the board.

Duh !!!!!!!!! said...

Did anyone actually think for an instant that the LOCAL boards would admit that their fellow criminals did a wrong thing ???

It is essential that the city remains united against it's citizens , otherwise freedom would spread across this once great city .

Anonymous said...

Uh, DUH -- Since when is protecting the citizens of Bristol from an ugly death trap a crime? Tearing down that dump before it became some kid's grave site was a no brainer....duh!

Anonymous said...

Explains why some developers get whatever they want.