Published February 05. 2013 4:00AM
Norwich - The city will pay about $20,000 to clean up charred debris from a March 26 fire that destroyed three apartment houses on Oak Street after it says the owners have been "nonresponsive" to demands that the property be cleaned.
The city will place a lien on the property owners at 7-9 Oak St. for the cost of the cleanup.
Two residents of nearby Hobart Avenue complained to the council that the debris has marred their neighborhood for nearly a year. Resident David Mitchell said trash has been added to the fire debris and that has yet to be cleaned up as well.
Resident Brian Kobylarz said he was "extremely disappointed" in the delay of the cleanup, noting that for three months after the fire, the debris still blocked the Oak Street sidewalk.
"This is the gateway to our neighborhood," Kobylarz said.
City Manager Alan Bergren told the City Council that the debris removal first was delayed to allow time for the fire investigation. After that, the city tried to get the property owners to clean up the debris.
Director of Inspections James Troeger obtained a removal estimate of $20,000, and the council voted unanimously to clean the property and place the lien on the owners.