Falling Berne building not a risk to Fox Creek, says DEC

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff 

Pieces of the building at 1628 Helderberg Trail in Berne could be seen falling into the Fox Creek last November.

BERNE — The building at 1628 Helderberg Trail in Berne, owned by local entrepreneur Ardi Cecunjanin, poses no threat to the Fox Creek, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which inspected the property after it was revealed to be falling into the waterway.  

“An employee with our Division of Fish and Wildlife visited the area a few weeks ago and determined there was no impact to Fox Creek that warranted DEC action,” Public Information Officer Jomo Miller told The Enterprise this week. 

Miller previously told The Enterprise that the creek is a “Class C waterbody with trout spawning standards” and that the DEC has jurisdiction over potential impacts. 

The building is owned by Ardi Cecunjanin, a local entrepreneur who could not be reached for comment this week. He had purchased it from the Albany County Land Bank in 2017 for $1,500 and a promise that he would rehabilitate it and turn it into a storefront. 

In November, the land bank’s then-executive director Adam Zaranko told The Enterprise that Cecunjanin broke off contact with the not-for-profit toward the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and that “due to both the lack of progress on the project and the discontinued communication with our office, we referred this to our legal team for further review. We have not made a determination as to how we may proceed at this point.” 

Zaranko has since left the post and the newly announced replacement, Sean Maguire, has not yet taken over. 

The building is considered an eyesore by some residents, including Mona Monette, who wrote a letter about it to the Enterprise editor that upset the Cecunjanin family.

Rush Cecunjanin, Ardi Cecunjanin’s brother who runs the nearby Fox Pizza Market and is uninvolved with the falling property, told The Enterprise in November that anyone who “knew the story” of the building wouldn’t criticize his brother, who he said was in the process of getting the necessary permits to rehabilitate it. 

More Hilltowns News

  • Anthony Esposito, who lost his house along State Route 145 in Rensselaerville when an SUV crashed into it, setting it on fire, said he had made several requests for guide rails because he had long been concerned about cars coming off the road. The New York State Department of Transportation said that it has no record of any requests.

  • The Rensselaerville Post Office is expected to move to another location within the 12147 ZIP code, according to a United States Postal Service flier, and the public is invited to submit comments on the proposal by mail. 

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