Building Crumbles Where Jurisdictions Intersect

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Authorities from across the spectrum are puzzling over what to do with a crumbling four-story building in Syracuse that’s creating a jurisdictional nightmare and disrupting commutes for an estimated 50,000 cars a day.

The building collapsed Feb. 26 with the inventory for Andy’s Cycle Shop and equipment from several prior businesses inside.

The city has been trying for months to force building owner Anthony Tartaro to remove his property and clear the building for demolition, according to the Post-Standard newspaper.

The jurisdictional nightmare is because the building fronts on state highway 81, and the state has had to close northbound lanes for fear the building would fall on or into traffic. State officials say they don’t have the authority to bulldoze the building, but the city does. But at an estimated cost of $1 million, neither the city nor Tartaro wants to pay.

Weeks before the building toppled, Syracuse’s code enforcement office issued an emergency demolition order allowing the city to knock the structure down, the newspaper says.

“The complexities are we are in a fiscal crisis in the state,” Governor’s office spokesman Morgan Hook said. “You’ve got a privately owned building within city jurisdiction that is threatening a federal highway that is maintained by a state agency. This is an unprecedented situation.”

Posted by Holly Wagner