Board upholds public nuisance designation of Gladys Avenue house

The boarded-up house on Gladys Avenue could be demolished

The boarded-up house may be demolished. The bowing walls are not plainly visible from the street, but the sharply bowed roof beam is a clear indication of major structural problems.

The Board of Building Standards on Thursday unanimously voted to uphold the Division of Housing and Building’s public nuisance designation of the two-family house at 1214 Gladys Avenue.

The city was tipped off about the house’s unsafe condition on January 14 by Craig Lovejoy who reluctantly e-mailed photos of the structure to the division. “I really don’t like to have to be the one to bring this to your attention but it is only a matter of time before we have a complete collapse of the roof structure,” he wrote.

Assistant Building Director Jeff Fillar told the Board that the building inspector who investigated Lovejoy’s complaint was “a little befuddled” by the scene because he’d never seen anything quite like it before.

As images of the house’s bowed exterior walls, failed roof, and contorted presence were projected onto a screen, Fillar said one of his primary concerns was the potential collapse of the structure’s brick chimney onto the residence next-door.

Fillar said the condition of the house had noticeably worsened since the nuisance designation was issued on January 29. Both natural gas and electricity service to the home had been shut off as a precaution.

Fire Marshall Timothy Dunphy toured the exterior of property and told the Board it looked like the sill plate had slipped off of the concrete foundation. He peered through an open back door and saw collapsed kitchen floor joists.

Dunphy also noticed a large hole in the rear of roof, detected a strong odor of mold and suspected the existence of major water damage.

Homeowner James Bogner, who was appealing the nuisance designation, explained to the Board that he’d been battling illness for the last two years. He was diagnosed with diabetes and had his thyroid removed last March at the Cleveland Clinic. He had been the sole occupant of the house until he was forcibly removed.

Bogner didn’t offer any defense to the city’s claims. He said a structural engineer who examined the house found that the primary load-bearing basement support beam shifted off of its support posts.

Bogner didn’t know what it would cost to repair the damage, and seemed to think it was DIY project. He said he’d been accumulating support beams and purchased 12 housejacks. “I was gonna fix it myself,” he said.

Chairman Michael Molinski summed up the Board’s position: “This is a nuisance by definition. This house is a danger.”

 

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