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Baltimore County demands action at burned out mill near Patapsco River

Letter to owners orders renovation or demolition

By Brian Conlin, bconlin@patuxent.com

8:48 AM EDT, May 8, 2012

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Baltimore County sent a letter on May 2 demanding that the owners of the Simkins Mill renovate or raze the burned out structure in western Catonsville by July 1.

The letter from Donald Brand, a building engineer with the county, states that the owners of the mill, New Haven Board & Carton Co., have not maintained the facility near the intersection of River and South Hilltop roads in more than eight years.

In June 2003, a fire broke out and forced the 87,000-square-foot facility to close after 46 years of operation at the location just east of the Patapsco River that serves as the border between Baltimore and Howard counties.

The mill caught fire again last December and required firefighters from Baltimore and Howard counties to put out the blaze.

The May 2 letter states the owner of the mill shall "repair all deteriorating structures at the site to such a condition that they are weatherproof and secure against illegal entry or raze all or any portion of the structures which are not so repaired."

According to the letter, the building has open doorways and windows and many deteriorating features, such as its saw tooth roof.

Anthony Battaglia, the chief financial officer for the company that owns Simkins Mill, was not available for comment on Monday.

Brand included a copy of an email that Battaglia sent to him on Jan. 19 about the property.

"As discussed, Simkins has always tried to be a good neighbor and history shows that we have addressed any concern brought to us by the community," Battaglia wrote.

In the email, Battaglia promised a response in the near future.

Brand wrote that he had not received one as of May.

Should the owners of the facility not take action, Brand wrote that county code gives him the authority to have the mill torn down.

"I can also order the razing of any structure that is or may become dangerous or is not properly repaired," the letter stated.