A Sept. 10 deadline is looming as the Yakima Clean Air Authority waits to see if a plan for the safe removal of the asbestos found in the Anciso building is brought before the environmental protection agency.
Charles Stansdel, asbestos compliance officer for the Clean Air Authority, said the building demolition, which started in June by the Downing Construction Company of Sunnyside, was stopped shortly after it was discovered that a permit for removal of asbestos was not in place.
"The discovery of the asbestos found in the second floor ceilings became a matter of safety for the work crews," said Stansdel.
Now, before demolition can continue on the 80-year-old downtown Sunnyside building, owner Roy Anciso's contractors and structural engineers must create a plan for the removal of the asbestos and obtain a permit from the Clean Air Authority before work can proceed on the demolition project, Stansdel explained.
Stansdel said the stop work order does not include a monetary penalty, as yet. However, such a fine could be issued if steps are not taken, he said. Anciso could face a $500 a day fine if the Sept. 10 deadline is not met.
"We are still trying to determine who did what, when regarding the current situation," Stansdel said.
"That situation must be cleared up before work can continue," he said.
Stansdel said the parties in the project were given 30 days to provide a written statement of action for the asbestos removal.
The 30-day deadline is Sept. 10, he explained. "But I expect we will have a plan in place before the deadline," he added.
In the meantime, Anciso has been in discussions with the city of Sunnyside to work out a plan to comply with the city's concerns surrounding the building, according to Mike Storms, a code enforcement officer in the City of Sunnyside's Building Department.
The building, which has been at the center of nearly three years of controversy, was expected to be removed by the end of summer. The Clean Air Authority's stop order has changed that time line, he said.
"We want to see progress with the Clean Air Authority," Storms said.
"We want to see the project moving again," he said.
The Anciso building was closed, displacing three downtown businesses, in 2002, when it was discovered that the south side of the brick building was bulging. The wall is now being supported by giant metal braces. The alley between the building and the nearby buildings is closed by barricades, blocking emergency uses.
"We're hopeful the Clean Air Authority will approve the engineers' removal plan and issue the necessary permit and work can begin again," Storms said.
Calls to Anciso for comments were not returned. However, Steve Winfree, the attorney for Bob Hall, who is the lien holder for the building, said his client is hopeful the situation will soon be resolved.
"It's been very complicated," he said.
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