Property owner Catelo Viviani chided his community critics about his 1.3 acre property at 338 Glenerie Boulevard that neighbors described as a “debacle” due to disrepair. “If my neighbors were that concerned, they could have knocked on my door and talked to me,” Viviani said during a public hearing held by the Ulster Town Board on Thursday, August 4. “Maybe they could have given me a hand. I would have paid them.”
At a meeting held earlier, on Thursday, July 21, officials detailed an order to remedy notice covering 14 violations against property owner Viviani dated July 13 and, according to Town Building Inspector Warren Tutt, delivered by both certified and regular mail. At the public hearing last week, Viviani claimed he had not received the notice.
According to Ulster County records, on the property are 10 buildings, nine unoccupied, and among the violations cited by the Town of Ulster 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.
County records note that Viviani purchased the property from the county for $104,000 on July 3, 2018. During the public hearing he said his neighbors had the chance to obtain it themselves.
“They could have went to the auction and bought it like me or anybody else,” he said.
Some of those neighbors last week reported that Viviani had recently begun making cosmetic improvements in an effort to placate town officials, but were skeptical that it would amount to much.
“It’s been four years and we are tired, and I am concerned because I feel like there’s some things happening on the property that are more cosmetic,” said Mary Jo Fredericks. “And I don’t think the root problem of the safety of those buildings is being considered. If the future plan is for people to inhabit those buildings, I am urging the town to take a real good look, because if you look at the cabins closely from the road you can see that they’re just patching over what I think are structural problems.”
Other concerns were shared as well.
“I live down the street from the debacle that he has created in our neighborhood,” said Linda Belzadi. “It is unsafe. There are rats in there, there’s vermin in there. Somebody could go in there and set a fire, which would destroy all of our trees.”
Kelly Epstein asked that the Town Board finally resolve to address the matter.
“This has been four years of a debacle with nothing moving forward, no resolutions,” she said. “Besides the fact that it is a safety issue, it is just an eyesore for all of us who are trying to keep our properties maintained and the value of them.”
While Viviani said he planned to continue improving the property, Town Supervisor James E. Quigley, III was unconvinced and said the process of bringing the matter before the New York State Supreme Court wasn’t likely to stop.
“You still haven’t told us when you’re going to clean it up by and how you’re going to clean it up,” Quigley said. “That’s what’s important here…We have made the statement that it is unacceptable as to the current conditions. We are going to continue our process in forming our path towards a judicial decree. And if Mr. Viviani is fortunate enough to fix the property to the Town building inspector’s preference prior to us getting to where we need to file, fine. If not, we’re going to court.”