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Volusia Gives Tenants 3 Weeks To Vacate Condemned Building

Henry Frederick  Staff Writer   January 13, 2001; Page 05C    

HOLLY HILL -- Three weeks. That's the amount of time agreed upon by all parties in the saga over the demolition of an illegally constructed building on Ridgewood Avenue owned by developer Paul Holub.    

  A compromise was struck Friday over the telephone between Doug Daniels, an attorney representing a tenant in the building at 1816 Ridgewood Ave., and Assistant County Attorney Randell Rowe.    

The attorneys met the day before in chambers with Circuit Judge Robert K. Rouse Jr. in hopes of hammering out some kind of agreement for the tenant to vacate the building so it can be demolished.    

Holub had signed an agreement late last year that the building would be torn down by Jan. 5, but Daniels said his client, insurance company owner Stephen Smith, was not a party to the demolition order and hadn't received an eviction notice from Holub.    

The judge questioned the need for more time, especially after Rowe pointed out Thursday that Smith and Holub are longtime business associates and partners.    

"Is this a deal between Mr. Holub and the tenant to stall this?" the judge asked.    

Daniels denied any collusion, saying that Smith needed 30 days to move. The judge said he found it incredulous Smith had no knowledge of the demolition issue.    

Rowe termed Smith's workers "trespassers" since their lease expired Jan. 1.    

Daniels countered: "Even as a holdov er tenant, (Stephens) just can't be thrown out in the street."    

Rowe produced a letter to the judge in which Holub insisted any utility that sought to cut power to the building could be subject to litigation. The county attorney saw that as a veiled threat to scare utility agencies from turning off water and electricity.    

The attorneys agreed to consider a two-week time frame at Thursday's hearing subject to Daniels getting approval Friday morning from Stephens.    

Rowe said Daniels asked him Friday for an additional week and they agreed upon this and informed the judge.    

Should Stephens or Holub renege on this latest agreement, the judge could order the building demolished at the end of the three weeks, Rowe said.    

The issue goes back a decade when Holub built the 800-square-foot building without proper building permits, Rowe said. The c

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