Crounse House could have been saved

To the Editor:

According to your Dec. 7 editorial [“Historic buildings tell our stories, until we silence them] and story [“Crounse House to be demolished after village and town fail to make repairs”], the town of Guilderland Highway Department is to remove asbestos illegally from the Crounse House.

It’s time to hold Altamont and Guilderland responsible for collusion in the foreclosure of the Crounse House. They had first choice to buy it, eliminating others, me included, as a qualified restoration contractor from bidding it to save it.

Now, because they found some asbestos in the back roof, they bail out, run and hide from their responsibility to fix it, purely because they bought it (buyer beware, as is) as all of us laymen do. The chance for others is gone.

Peter Barber, you are a lawyer. You should know better. The town’s highway department is not a New York State certified asbestos-removal company. Neither the town nor Altamont has a license to remove it. If I, as a contractor applied for a permit to demolish, you would force me to pay for an asbestos and lead-removal licensed contractor to demolish it.

It is time the town of Guilderland and the village of Altamont take responsibility without perks and a blind eye to la and follow it as we small town contractors do.

You along with New York State have forced many of these ridiculous rules and laws on us so follow through yourself.

Furthermore, you hire a commercial engineering firm to appraise the damage. How stupid they know nothing of old pin-frame buildings and are unqualified to submit estimates for their repair.

You — Guilderland, Altamont and New York State — are guilty of all of the above. You bend the rules and jade your estimates to your favor. I have taken old pin-frame houses and barns completely apart and completely made them sound and in compliance of all structural integrity as built originally for much less the cost of your jaded-in-your-favor estimates.

So, future demolition projects and permits applied for in Guilderland and Altamont must also be granted without licensed remediators as you now set a precedent.

Bill Skowe


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