The issue will be before the city board of health next week.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A property owner will have until late September to demonstrate how he plans to bring a longtime East Market Street building up to code or demolish it.
City officials posted the Imperial Motel property, owned by Donald Guarnieri, as condemned Thursday morning.
The board of health will meet Wednesday after which Guarnieri, an attorney, will have 30 days to present a plan to bring the property into compliance with city codes. The board then may accept the plan or reject it and order demolition.
"The citizens of Warren are tired of looking at Mr. Guarnieri's eyesore and I'm tired of looking at it," Mayor Hank Angelo said.
Prepared to fight
The property owner can contest a demolition order in court, but the mayor said the condemnation is a first step and the city isn't shying away from a court battle if it comes to that.
"We're going to do something," Angelo said. "We're not waiting for him to die or for me not to be mayor."
Guarnieri has several other properties in the city through business partnerships. A demolition order of a West Park Avenue house he owns has been in court for more than a year.
Guarnieri couldn't be reached.
Angelo hopes the motel is demolished. Even a grass lot would be preferable to the rundown building, he said.
"There are opportunities to make this corner at least fit," Angelo said. "The appearance just detracts from everything we're trying to do downtown."
The building has been an eyesore for many years, but the mayor said a recent break-in gave city health, fire and building officials access to it.
Angelo said there was evidence that vagrants had been living there. Windows have been broken, and padlocks lock gates around the building.
Not fit for humans
A review of the property by officials also showed the building isn't fit for human habitation, resulting in the condemnation, said Robert Pinti, deputy health commissioner.
Angelo said that in the past, Guarnieri has made minor repairs to the building. Angelo also said vagrants living inside the building present a safety hazard.
"If there's a fire, it's a maze in there," the mayor said. "The fire department is not going to know where somebody is. It's not worth somebody's life -- one of our firefighters or a vagrant."
Three cars sit alongside the building's rear, behind a locked gate. One's license tag bears a March 1999 expiration. Another's side window has been broken.
"Once we can get in there, those cars will be tagged and towed out," Pinti said.