New Mexico’s Innovation Triangle unlikely to meet demolition deadline for former Hilltop House property – Los Alamos Reporter
A dumpster behind the old Hilltop House Hotel on Saturday. Photo by Mayor O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Vehicles carry items from the former Hilltop House Hotel on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Mayor O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAYOR O’NEILL
Although dumpsters full of trash, mattresses and more were spotted behind the former Hilltop House Hotel, now owned by New Mexico Innovation Triangle, LLC, and furniture and other items being hauled out of the site, there appears to be little chance that demolition of the building will take place before the March 30 deadline imposed in early November 2021 by the Los Alamos County Council.
A resolution passed by the Council in November directed NMIT to begin removal of the building and all associated debris within 10 days of service or posting or publication of the resolution. It required the two-acre parcel to be left in a “clean, level and safe condition suitable for further occupation or construction with all excavations filled” by March 30, 2022. The “clean and privileged” resolution “is a provision of state law that allows the governing body of a municipality to find by resolution that a building poses a threat to public comfort, health, peace or safety and to require that it be removed. ‘removal. If NMIT does not comply with the resolution, the county may end up tearing down the building and placing a lien on the property for the cost.
NMIT purchased the Hilltop House property in June 2020 and it has remained unoccupied ever since. In July 2021, Los Alamos Fire Marshal Wendy Servey ordered the building secured and in October 2021 ordered the property fenced. She also ordered NMIT to provide her with all permits for work necessary to reduce existing fire code violations or complete demolition of the hotel structure by November 21, 2021.
On Tuesday, county officials confirmed they had discussions with NMIT but no demolition permit had been obtained by NMIT. Fire Marshal Wendy Servey told the Los Alamos Reporter that a contractor had been hired by NMIT. She said she defers to the county attorney’s office to determine what the next step will be if the March 30 deadline is not met. Asked about details such as a traffic plan, structural debris removal plans, etc., County Executive Steven Lynne said he understands these will be part of the demolition plan. He said the county met with NMIT to stay informed. Lynne declined to say what the county’s options are when the deadline passed and said the county has never done this before. John Rizzo, CEO and co-founder of NMIT, told the reporter that NMIT had Zoom meetings with the county three times a week.
As for material removed from dumpsters, county Department of Community Development Director Paul Andrus said in an email that he assumed it would go to the Los Alamos Ecological Station. When asked if the CDD had received any plans from NMIT of its intentions at the site, Andrus said nothing official had been received. He replied that he had also seen graphics of NMIT presentations indicating a huge building planned for the site, but did not know if NMIT’s plans had changed or not. When asked if NMIT planned to meet the fire marshal’s deadline, Andrus replied that he hadn’t tracked that and suggested speaking to the fire marshal.
The county’s demolition application states that for commercial projects, structures built before January 1, 1995, an asbestos report must be submitted. It states that all commercial waste sent to the Eco Station must be inspected for hazardous materials such as asbestos, ballasts containing PCBs, mercury lamps, etc. and a reduction report to demonstrate that all hazardous materials identified during the investigation have been safely removed by a licensed professional. and disposed of at an authorized facility. The request notes that the county’s Department of Environmental Services will assist residents with “limited amounts of regulated asbestos-containing materials.” The application also notes that the above list is not exhaustive and additional information may be required depending on the scope of the project.