August 30, 2002

Students Ordered to Vacate Apartment

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Approximately 15 residents of apartments located at 302 and 304 Stewart Ave. have been ordered to vacate their apartments immediately.

A sign posted on both entrances to the building read, “This building is unsafe and its use and occupancy has been prohibited.”

According to a letter issued to the landlord, Orson Ledger, from the Building Department of the City of Ithaca, dated Aug. 28, the building has numerous outstanding violations.

Furthermore, the letter indicates that the building was being rented in violation of the Housing Ordinance. “The building at 302-304 Stewart Avenue has not had a Certificate of Compliance since 1996 or an electrical survey since 1962,” the letter states. “This building has a long history of poor maintenance.”

Ledger explained, “I was told by the city that I do not have a C[ertificate] of O[ccupancy].”

Ledger continued, “The certificate ran out in [19]99, although the city says it ran out in [19]66. I thought it was still valid.”

According to the Building Department’s letter, the certificate actually expired in 1996.

“The Building Department wants the electric inspected, and I have some stuff stored in the basements that they want removed,” Ledger said.

The letter from the Building Department cites concern for the well-being of the occupants of the building. “I am even more concerned about the occupants’ safety because from visual inspection from the sidewalk it is evident that the exterior wooden stairs are both dangerous and in need of immediate repair,” Phyllis Radke, building commissioner, wrote in the letter.

Radke refused comment to The Sun at the time she was contacted.

Meanwhile, residents of the building have been instructed by Ledger to vacate immediately.

“I’m not staying here tonight,” said Dan Hanrahan ’03, who lives on the first floor. “We’re prepared to move.”

He added, “It’s kind of the worst time for this.”

“I suggested they go to a motel,” Ledger said.

Archived article by Chris Mitchell