Mancuso pleads in Utica building demolition case

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UTICA — A Utica man accused by the city of tearing down a building in a historic district pleaded guilty to three violations Monday in Utica City Codes Court, his attorney John Raspante said Tuesday.
In March, Steven Mancuso was ticketed for a violation of the international property code regarding the presence of rubbish and garbage; a violation of the city code for failure to get a permit; failure to get a certificate of appropriateness (relative to the plan involving actions performed with a structure in a historic section), a city code violation. All charges were in connection to the demolition of an 1840s-era Greek Revival building he owned at 632 Varick St. without a permit or consent from the city.
Mancuso’s sentence for the three code violations was $1,000 in fines and a one-year conditional discharge.
“We thought this was the most reasonable way to dispose of (the case),” Raspante said.

The city code situation began with a March 7 letter to Mancuso from the city that noted an engineer deemed the building unsafe and that it should be demolished. That was followed by a second letter less than a week later from the city indicating the building was in the Scenic and Historic District and permission was needed before anything could be done with the property.
Mancuso said he never received that second letter prior to his late-March demolition of the building. The city’s Scenic and Historic Preservation Commission maintained Mancuso was told at its March 19 meeting to stabilize the building as a preservation plan was crafted.
The building was home to several bars over the years, but is notably remembered as the former Hollyrock.
Raspante said his client intends to apply for a building permit to construct a restaurant-bar on the same plot of land.
Comment from the Utica Corporation Counsel’s office was not immediately available.

Contact reporter Jolene Cleaver OBSERVER-DISPATCH.

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