We’re The Government, We’re Here to Help You: City Tears Down Home While Man is in Court Contesting Demolition

Derrick Basle simply wanted his day in court before the city was allowed to tear down his home filled with antiques and family items. He was given a court date, but when he showed up, the learned that someone had canceled the hearing. He then discovered that the city was tearing down his house anyway in Watervliet, New York.

The problems began when a wall collapsed at 301 21st St. The city decided that, since 303 21sr St. was so close, they would tear it down as well because they doubted they could raze the first house without damaging it. In this age of controlled demolition, this sounds more like an easy and cheap resolution tied to their preference to use a backhoe to take down the structures.

When Basle ran back to the home where he was raised, he found it a pile of rubble. He had been told that he would be given a hearing at 1 pm, but the demolition was well on its way by then and the hearing was canceled.

What is equally troubling is the treatment of Richard Albagli. His home at 303 21st St. was told that his home would be demolished simply because the city did not think it could take down his neighbor’s house without damaging it. Of course, one would expect them to try and then determine any structural damage. Instead, the city took a backhoe to both homes. Albagli asked to be able to go into the house to retrieve valuable and was refused. This is bizarre because Basle was supposedly allowed to enter his home — which was the one that was partially collapsed. A;bagli also went to court but was denied the right to enter his home to retrieve valuable instruments and collections.
He even offered to waive liability but was denied access.

The whole affair is troubling. The lack of hearings. The refusal to accommodate the neighbor. The categorical insistence that the other home could not be preserved (and the city would not try). For libertarians, it does not get more nightmarish.

For the full story, click here.

6 thoughts on “We’re The Government, We’re Here to Help You: City Tears Down Home While Man is in Court Contesting Demolition

  1. Still waiting for the “nevermind” of the story. I am sure there is more too it….perhaps the citie’s side for a starter.

  2. Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home — unless you are in Watervliet, New York. Apparently the properties were blighted and a risk to those entering them. One was falling down. I do side with the homeowners but it does seem a stretch to say that the contents in the houses were valuables in any real economic sense. Were I the City fathers, I would pay the man what he asks and help him get more suitable housing. The real issue is that people have to live in such substandard housing in the first place.

  3. The city of Watervliet, NY, is not only doing a disservice to its own citizens by refusing to be reasonable and follow the rule of law, they have also blighted the name of the town by these foolish actions. I do not understand how they can get away without proper hearings. The Governor and/or State legislature needs to look into this matter.

  4. rafflaw:

    Sounds like an emergency situation to abate a public nuisance. Extreme –yes; unprecedented–no.

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