Judge delays decision on Farina building

Judge delays decision on Farina building

NORTH PROVIDENCE – A District Court judge on Monday denied a request for an injunction in the ongoing case of whether an eyesore building at one of the town’s busiest intersections should come down, postponing a decision to this Friday, Nov. 9.

Judge Walter Gorman denied the request for an injunction, asking an attorney for Dr. Anthony Farina why the doctor previously failed to have anyone testify before the state hearing board in the matter.

According to Mayor Charles Lombardi, Gorman indicated the chances are slim that he’ll overturn the state board’s decision, but the judge told representatives for the doctor that they can come back Friday at 10:30 a.m. to make a case through an engineer that the building can somehow be saved.

Town officials contend that this is a matter of public safety, as portions of the deteriorating building could fall, but Gorman said this has been an issue for a while and he doesn’t see another four days making a difference.

Attorney Christopher Mulhearn did not return a call for comment Monday.

The Breeze reported on Oct. 17 that the vacant building on the corner of Smithfield Road at 1840 Mineral Spring Ave., next to Farina’s doctor’s office at 1830 Mineral Spring Ave., would be torn down after the Rhode Island State Building Board and Standards Commission sided with the town in the matter.

A letter to the doctor from Building Official Ben Nascenzi noted that Farina had pulled a permit to demolish the building, and fencing was subsequently put up around it.

Lombardi said he was somewhat disappointed by Monday’s delay, saying he had been planning to give Farina 24 hours to demolish the building, but said he has no choice but to wait until Friday. The town has a low-bid contractor, J.R. Vinagro, lined up to take the building down at a cost of more than $30,000, said Lombardi, but will lien the property owner when that bill comes due.

The mayor said he was previously assured by Mulhearn that Farina would sign a consent order to have the building torn down, but that never happened.

Farina has been in a long-running feud with Lombardi and Town Council members over the condition of his building, and was previously denied a tax treaty in his efforts to redevelop the property. In July he commissioned a caricature painting of Lombardi sitting on a porcelain throne as the king of North Providence, a painting still in place today.

Nascenzi’s July 2 order to demolish the building cited a structural assessment done by Odeh Engineers detailing “localized failures” of the building’s roof, which could eventually lead to a structural collapse. A second assessment from Ahlborg Engineers found “irreparable” conditions at Farina’s building due to “severe neglect.”

Neighborhood residents have long complained about the appearance of Farina’s building as well as safety hazards.