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Owner plans to demolish back of former bail bonds

October 14, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The owner of a condemned building in West Antietam Street's "bail bond row" plans to demolish a rear addition, where a roof collapsed Saturday.

Because the building is in a historic area, the Hagerstown Preservation Design District Committee reviewed the demolition plan Thursday, approving a certificate of appropriateness.

Zoning Administrator Stephen Bockmiller said the next step for A&S Associates LLC of McLean, Va., the owner, is a demolition permit from the city engineer's office.

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The building, known as 31-33 W. Antietam St., has three sections, including three apartments over the storefront facing the road.

The front section is more than 100 years old, but the rear - a one-story, concrete-block addition - is not historic, Bockmiller said.

Saturday afternoon, responding to a report of a smoke detector going off, firefighters found part of the rear roof had fallen.

John Lestitian, the city's chief code enforcement officer, said a section of the roof previously had collapsed.

Heavy rain Friday and Saturday damaged a small section of a parapet-type wall, bringing down more of the roof, plus electrical lines, he said.

Lestitian said the electricity was turned off, so the building was condemned. The four tenants in the three apartments found other places to live, he said.

At Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting, Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer noted the condemnation, calling the row of buildings, opposite Washington County District Court, "a dump."

The front portion of 33 W. Antietam St., facing the courthouse, was used for a bail bond business. Bondsman Greg Toms moved out at the end of September when the lease expired, Imad Samaha of A&S Associates said Thursday afternoon.

A&S Associates is redesigning the building and has no plans yet to lease it to another business, Samaha said.

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records show that A&S Associates bought the 10,481-square-foot building and land from Carol L. Smith in August 2004 for $150,000.

The middle and rear sections of the building were vacant, so the earlier roof damage was not a hazard to the building's occupants, Lestitian said.

About a week ago, Toms moved his business, A-Above Average Bail Bonds, to the former D&G Liquors building at 846 W. Washington St.

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