Norwich rooming house owner appeals condemnation to state panel

Norwich — The owner of a rooming house at 41 Boswell Ave., condemned Jan. 2 by city inspectors, has filed an appeal to the state Codes and Standards Committee seeking to overturn the condemnation.

Jimmy Liang of Flushing, N.Y., has engaged in a bitter dispute with city building, fire and health inspectors since the Jan. 2 condemnation of the 12-unit rooming house, displacing 14 tenants. He filed the appeal to the state after the Norwich Building Code Board of Appeals denied his appeal Feb. 22, a week after a hearing on the appeal.

In the state appeal process, if Liang filed his appeal on time — within 14 days of the local decision — the 21-member Codes and Standards Committee will assign the appeal to a three-member panel of committee members. The panel will hold a hearing and rule on the appeal.

The building was condemned Jan. 2 after city building inspectors received complaints about lack of heat in some units. In response to the complaints, inspectors also discovered numerous other violations, including damaged doors that would not close properly, unsanitary conditions, such as garbage and debris in the common kitchen area and blocking exits, and unsafe front stairs.

City inspectors said a subsequent inspection on Jan. 8 confirmed the original findings and discovered that the furnace had been turned off, causing more frozen and broken pipes.

Liang challenged the condemnation from the start, and sought financial compensation from the city for lost rental income and relocation costs for displaced tenants.

During his Feb. 16 hearing before the Norwich appeals board, Liang argued the problems at the building were not cause for immediate condemnation. He said he should have been allowed the full day to make repairs, as had been done in the past when the building had a sewer problem.

He also argued that city inspectors allegedly conspired to protect his heating contractor, who Liang said performed substandard work.

The local appeals board voted unanimously to deny his appeal, saying the inspectors acted appropriately in response to what they believed to be unsafe conditions. Board members also said many of Liang’s issues did not fall under their jurisdiction.

c.bessette@theday.com

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