Tryon receives cleanup costs for Melrose Inn

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Debris to cost town more than $95K to remove

TRYON — The Tryon Town Council received some shocking figures last week regarding the amount it will cost to clean up the debris left from the Melrose Inn fire earlier this year.

The 26,000-square-foot building, built in 1889, burnt to the ground in early September following an electrical fire.

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The town is now faced with cleaning up the property and plans to approve a minimum housing ordinance on the property to place a lien and gain ownership of it next year.

The owner of the inn, Marilyn Doheny, lost everything in one of Tryon’s oldest buildings, and did not have insurance.

Tryon Community Development Director Tim Daniels said the town recently received an estimate to clean up the property, which includes $350 for asbestos cleanup and $95,300 for debris removal.

“I know that seems outrageous,” said Tryon Town Manager Zach Ollis. “Melrose Inn was 20-something-thousand square feet, with a basement still full of debris.”

Ollis said a house that was recently demolished by the town produced two loads of debris to be hauled off, but Melrose Inn, at its size, will require much more.

Daniels said he has sent notices of complaint to all parties involved. He said the board of adjustment will have a meeting on Jan. 10 and the town will continue the process from there.

Daniels also said the cost for removing the asbestos could be higher, as more testing is needed.

Tryon Attorney William Morgan explained that the town can approve an ordinance to seek an order of abatement from the court to enforce the ordinance.

The council briefly discussed what to do with the property, located in the heart of Melrose Avenue directly across from Tryon Fine Arts Center, once it is cleaned up.

“I just don’t want it to turn into a parking lot under any circumstances,” said Commissioner Bill Crowell.

Commissioner Crys Armbrust said there has been some interest from people to build things in that space.

Tryon has been working to clean up several properties throughout town this year, including demolishing dilapidated homes.

The council also approved a minimum housing ordinance last week for 356 E. Howard St. Commissioners also discussed a house at 366 E. Howard St., which the town is giving the owner 90 days to come into compliance. Commissioners said giving the owner 90 days does not seem unreasonable, as he has already cleaned up the yard.

“The whole idea of having a minimum housing ordinance is for owners to keep things up, not torn down at the taxpayers’ expense,” Morgan said.