More bad news for Sebus Brothers’ store renovations

Work on the Sebus Brothers True Value Hardware store on Weston’s Main Street has started since the city forced its closure last month due to unsafe building conditions, but an engineer’s report has spelled more bad news for the business.

At the Monday, April 9 regular meeting of the Weston Board of Aldermen, city attorney Jeremy Webb presented a report from structural engineering firm Norton and Schmidt, who last week conducted an inspection of the building at 405 Main Street. In the report, the engineer ordered that the building must remain closed until the roof is completely replaced and another inspection for additional rot or termite damage can be conducted.

Built in 1850, the hardware store has been a Main Street fixture for decades. However, deterioration over the last several years has drawn the attention of the city. Letters warning Chuck and Bill Sebus of dangerous conditions at two of their properties were sent out by the city in early March. At the March 12 board meeting, the board closed the Main Street business and also voted to order the Sebus brothers to tear down a badly deteriorated home at 926 1/2 Thomas Street. Currently, the owners are removing items stored in the home.

“Work has progressed,” said city director of public works Mike Large of the main street store. “The back wall has been fixed, the back is getting cleaned up – it’s better.”

Repair and cleanup of the back of the store were just two items on a checklist the city issued to Chuck Sebus last month. Repair of the roof was on the list, but according to the new report a full replacement is necessary. Additional items on the list were replacement or repair of windows, guttering and building fascia as well as general cleanup of clutter inside the store.

Sebus was present at the Monday meeting and said he had been working on the building as quickly as he could. However, an extended closure was affecting their business. He asked if he could temporarily move the hardware store to a building the brothers owned on Highway 45 until the Main Street store could reopen.

Aldermen and city staff were generally agreeable and said they would investigate if another business license would need to be issued for the temporary location.

According to the engineer’s report, the primary cause for concern in the building is water damage from the roof. The second floor ceiling has extensive damage from water and rot, and in at least one area the engineer could see daylight through the roof. Water has run down supports and into the first floor ceiling, where attempts to catch or divert the water in the store have led to the placement of buckets, trash cans and guttering to collect the water. In some places, ceiling rafters have failed and dropped downward to bear down on interior walls.

Other potential problems, such as possible termite damage, additional rot and electrical or plumbing problems cannot be assessed until the roof is replaced and all damaged ceiling and floor materials are removed. The exterior of the building also needs work, with some bricks showing deterioration and in need of replacement. Tuckpointing is needed, and areas around the chimneys show additional damage.

Also at the meeting, newly-elected board of aldermen members James Lowe and Rebecca Rooney were sworn in. Lowe was voted president of the board of aldermen.