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Madison Co. woman can't demolish her home

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Madison Co. woman can't demolish her home
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Once in a while, we hear about the state wanting to demolish a property and the landowner putting up a fight, but a Madison County woman says it's the other way around. As YNN's Erin Clarke tells us, the resident says the state is being difficult in allowing her to demolish her own home.

SULLIVAN, N.Y. -- It took eight minutes for Michelle Seef's home to go up in flames and going on eight months later, the shell of it still remains on Canaseraga Road in Chittenango.

"We had a stove fire and we lost everything," said Michelle Seef.

Seef wants to tear the house down and get on with her life, but the state Department of Labor requires that she prove the house is clear of asbestos or pay thousands of dollars to remove the mineral before demolition can be done.

"I did have a survey done as New York State requires, there's no asbestos, but due to the structure and how dangerous the second floor is, asbestos survey people could not reach part of the second floor," said Seef.

Despite that, Seef says she proved that the second floor is asbestos free. It was fully remodeled in the 1990s according to state code and she has checked all the materials used against her invoices of work done.

The structure on Canaseraga Road continues to crumble and now it sits as a billboard of blight...one neighbors are beginning to worry about.

"It's the first thing I see when I go to work and the last thing I see when I come home so it's kind of depressing," said Michelle's neighbor and niece, Amanda Seef.

Neighbors are concerned that the house sitting on a major thoroughfare is tarnishing the community. Seef says she wants the community to know she's trying to solve the problem, but thinks the issue lies in a law that hasn't been re-evaluated in years.

"There's a lot of gray areas in the asbestos laws and I believe we really need to take a look at those laws again," said Seef.

So far, Seef has reached out to several local legislators and her insurance company for help. Right now, it seems the ball is in the Department of Labor's court.

The town issued Seef a permit to demolish her home in August, but it was immediately revoked by the state. YNN reached out to the Department of Labor for comment, but our efforts were unsuccessful.

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