By Colin Hogan
Fulton adopted a new policy last week that officials say will help prevent the city from getting stuck with the cleanup bill after a building gets demolished.
The Common Council approved an amendment to the city’s “Demolition” law last week that requires anyone seeking a permit to demolish a structure to provide the city with a performance bond, provided the project is expected to cost $35,000 or more.
“There’s a lot we have to do before we issue a demolition permit,” Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said, citing things like requiring property owners to have the building’s gas and electric service shut off and having asbestos surveys conducted. “But the one thing we didn’t put in there initially is a guarantee that when they do the demolition, they have to clean up afterwards.”
According to the amendment, the bond must be equal to the project’s estimated cost, which must include the removal and disposal of any hazardous substances and any other work needed to achieve the minimum site restoration as determined by the city.
“What this does is protect the taxpayers from having to cover those costs (for cleanup following a building’s demolition),” Woodward said.
Woodward said the new law is intended, specifically, to help prevent another situation like the city’s current struggle with the former Nestle Co. facilities, the cleanup of which has been estimated to cost more than $250,000.
“If it’s a small building they’re going to demolish, it’s easy. But if you get a property the size of Nestle, you can run into a lot of problems, as we’ve seen,” Woodward said. “We want to make sure that, when that happens again, we can force them to do what they should be doing.”
Once the cleanup of the Nestle site is complete, the city plans to divide the complex into several different parcels to be sold off. Woodward said he has met with “several” parties interested in portions of the property, but isn’t yet at liberty to disclose who they are.