LYNDON — Demolition of the former Lynburke Hotel has begun.
The 69-year-old building located at the Route 5/114/122 intersection is being dismantled piece by piece, and the teardown could be complete as early as Thanksgiving, according to owner Joe Buzzi.
“It’s coming down,” he said.
Last month the town identified seven properties for inaugural enforcement of its Nuisance Structures-Dangerous Buildings Ordinance.
The Select Board sent letters urging compliance as a first step, rather than jumping straight to penalties. The approach appears to have worked.
Two property owners (including Buzzi) have pulled demolition permits, others are expected to follow suit next year, and still others have pledged to clean and secure their properties in preparation for sale.
News of the ordinance enforcement prompted the owners of 64 Broad St. (who were not contacted) to obtain a preemptive demolition permit.
“I have been pleasantly surprised,” said Town Administrator Justin Smith. “In all cases, progress is being made.”
Resident Bill Walker pushed for enforcement of the nuisance building ordinance, citing an epidemic of blighted properties.
He advocated a carrot and stick approach, and the Select Board agreed. They decided to send letters urging cooperation, in efforts to promote compliance without taking immediate punitive action. That compassionate style yielded results.
“I think it’s an approach that allowed [land owners] to explain and to ask questions,” Smith said, noting that most property owners are already aware of the problem, and simply need help in formulating a solution.
He described the outcomes as “very positive.”
Buzzi is in the process of taking the Lynburke down to its foundation.
Salvage operations are underway and everything of value — doors, windows, plywood, rafters, copper pipes and more — is being removed and repurposed. The only items tossed in the trash so far have been roof shingles.
“We’re trying to recycle everything that we can out of here,” Buzzi said. “The less we put in the landfill the better.”
He purchased the former motel in 2018, after it had already closed. He hopes the building demolition will speed along redevelopment of the centrally located, 2.8 acre commercial property.
He took no issue with the town acting on the nuisance building ordinance. In fact, he said, more enforcement was probably necessary.
“I’m fine with it,” he said. “But if you look around town there are a hell of a lot more than seven blighted properties.”