Demolition overdone

THE PROBLEM While demolishing an East Baltimore rowhouse, contractors damaged an adjacent building, according to the neighboring building's owner.

THE BACKSTORY Bobby Chen has owned a rowhouse at 1620 E. Chase St. since 2000. Last weekend, he discovered that his house had been damaged when the adjacent building, 1622 E. Chase, had been partially demolished by a contractor working for the city.

On Tuesday, Chen said that the remains of 1622 were dangerous. He also said he was not aware of the demolition plan.

But city officials say they did inform him. The building at 1622 was condemned and found structurally unsound, so officials decided to demolish it, according to Cheron Porter, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Housing and Community Development. She said the city notified adjacent property owners by regular mail. Under a new city law, anyone demolishing a building must notify those next to the property, as well as post a notice on the building itself, Porter said.

"In this instance, the party wall was unsound and the City found it necessary to hire a structural engineer to inspect and assess the situation and give us a detailed report.," she wrote in an e-mail. "We will further assess responsibility upon seeing the report." The report will include whether pre-existing conditions at 1620 contributed to the damage, Porter said.

WHO CAN FIX THIS For demolition emergencies, call Michael Braverman, deputy commissioner of code enforcement, 443-984-1806.

UPDATETwo missing segments of pedestrian hand rails have been replaced on the bridge to Fort McHenry, but Locust Point resident Bronson Sweeney won't stop until several absent bars are back in place in the middle of the bridge. He sent Watchdog an update about his efforts Thursday.

Apparently, transportation workers ran out of 3-inch pipe because of all the repairs. They will install those segments when more comes in.

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