City ends work with firm after house mistakenly razed
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The city of Pittsburgh has stopped steering demolition work to a Richland-based contractor, blaming the firm today for the unauthorized demolition of a Sheraden home.
"We have stopped any contracting from going to P.J. Deller [Excavating & Hauling] until further notice," said Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "They will not be doing any demolition for the city until our Law Department has appraised the matter."
Deller was hired to tear down 3222 Motor St., and did so, but is also accused of wrongly razing a neighboring home, 3224 Motor St., that was unoccupied but privately owned. The city had condemned 3224 Motor St., but had agreed to hold off on demolition to give the owner time to try to rehabilitate it.
The Bureau of Building Inspection wrote to and called Deller in early November, telling the firm not to tear down 3224 Motor St., said Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who represents Sheraden.
"The contractor has taken responsibility for the matter," said Ms. Doven.
Ms. Kail-Smith said that neighbors are not sad about the unauthorized razing. "We're receiving phone calls that residents of that area are pleased that the homes were both torn down," she said. "They had, in the past, seen homes that were condemned that were eligible to be torn down but that were not, and they were not refurbished in a timely fashion."
Nonetheless, the mistake leads Ms. Kail-Smith to the conclusion that the city should try to give more demolition contracts to firms located within its limits, rather than suburban companies.
The contractor, the listed owner of the wrongly demolished property, and the city's chief building inspector could not be immediately reached.
First Published January 5, 2011 8:11 am