On Thursday, August 4, the Town of Ulster will hold a public hearing to discuss a property at 338 Glenerie Boulevard, which has raised the ire of both neighbors and town officials due to its state of disrepair.
At a Town Board meeting held on Thursday, July 21, officials revealed an order to remedy notice covering 14 violations against property owner Catelo Viviani dated July 13 and, according to Town Building Inspector Warren Tutt, delivered by both certified and regular mail.
“In the body of that order of remedy, which was three pages long, I referenced every town code and every state code I could find in regards to the condition of the buildings, the condition of the property, the storage of materials, the storage of equipment, general upkeep and drainage,” said Tutt. “So at this point, Mr. Viviani has 30 days from the time it was sent to respond and correct the situation before we could proceed for the Town Board to take it upon themselves to expedite getting compliance.”
On the property are 10 buildings, nine unoccupied, and among the violations cited were dumping and outdoor storage of waste; maintenance of grass lawns; weeds and other rank or noxious vegetation; general sanitation; and numerous issues with the structures themselves.
Each of the violations comes with a per-day penalty of $250, according to town officials.
Town Supervisor James E. Quigley, III said that the property and its owner have been a joint concern for some time.
“This has been a longstanding issue that we have had repeated discussions about both in my office and on the floor of this forum here with complaints from our residents,” Quigley said, adding that the goal is to bring a lawsuit against Viviani in New York State Supreme Court, “Where we will hopefully, eventually be successful in getting an order to tear the properties down and at the owner’s expense. And if he should not pay for those expenses, we will add it to the tax bill. We have exercised this right at other locations in the town, and we have recovered the monies that we had expended.”
According to county records, Viviani purchased the property for $104,000 on July 3, 2018.
During the July 21 meeting, some neighbors along Glenerie Boulevard described the property as an eyesore.
“Before we purchased our home…in 2007, we lived in Millbrook, New York,” said Linda Fallon. “We always wanted to live by the water, so this house was our dream. We made a few improvements and we maintained our property, but now we are living next to what looks like an abandoned dump for construction materials, equipment trailers, and abandoned vehicles.”
Fallon said the Viviani property was previously an informal seasonal campsite, with comparatively congenial owners.
“It wasn’t a resort, but it didn’t look anything like the disaster we had next door to us as neighbors,” she said. “We were happy to look after their property during the winter months, phoning them when we saw something that needed attention.”
That changed when the property was purchased by Viviani, Fallon said.
“The first thing Mr. Viviani did after obtaining the property was chop down a number of trees, letting some fall into the Esopus (Creek) causing some neighbors to question what he planned to do,” she said. “He threw them off his property, threatening them. Sometime after, he began digging around and under the cabins nearest to the Esopus so as to create a future basement for each…And he quickly abandoned the effort. After four years, he has not finished the basement dig out and left the cabins vulnerable to the elements.”
Fallon said Viviani did not post a building permit, and when she asked to see one. “He harassed us to the point where we had to call the police a few times to our house to stop him…Soon, he accomplished what he wanted, to intimidate us into silence…as long as that property is allowed to be in its current state, our property is valued much less than it’s worth,” Fallon said. “No one would choose to live next door to that.”
Another neighbor, Caylin Sanders, also spoke about the Viviani property.
“It’s a blight on the neighborhood and a safety issue,” she said. “I’ve lived here five years, and even though it’s not in my visual normal day to day passing, safety issues affect neighbors, and if one of us has an issue, everyone has an issue.”
Quigley said he hoped neighbors would again turn up to the August 4 public hearing, a key step he said before the town brings the matter to the courts.
Viviani could not be reached for comment.