News10NBC Investigation Follow Up: Demolition of barn at center of Rush legal battle begins

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RUSH, N.Y. (WHEC) — The new barn at the middle of a battle between a Rush woman and the Town of Rush is now coming down.

The barn had been mistakenly approved by the town, then ordered taken down.

Workers started dismantling Elizabeth DiStacio’s pole barn on Thursday.

“I thought, ‘That poor woman,’" sighed Rush Town Supervisor Gerald Kusse. “She didn’t provoke this.”

"I’ll move it. I’ll get this nightmare over with,” DiStacio said.

The demolition of the barn is just the latest chapter in her more than two-year fight with the town of Rush over a mistake the town admits it made.

“So am I disgusted with the town of Rush?” she asked. “You’d better believe it. You’d better believe it. Because this, here, should never have happened.”

The situation started in 2019 when DiStacio got a building permit to put up the structure.

Her site plan was approved by the town’s building inspector. On paper. But the inspector had never visited the location and never noted the building was going in too close to the road. By the time the town ordered work to stop, work on the barn was well underway and after it was finished, she was ordered to take it down.

"At this point, I’d like to set the record straight,” exclaimed Kusse at a March 9 meeting of the Town Board.

Kusse called the situation a "comedy of errors". Before the town board, he emphasized the fiasco unfolded under a previous administration and said the town had proposed help.

"This administration made three proposals to relocate the structure with no cost to the resident,” he declared. “All three were rejected."

"All the proposals were at an out-of-pocket cost to me,” DiStacio replied as she watched workers take the barn down. “So I don’t know where they’re getting their facts."

DiStacio said she had to keep trying in state court to get a zoning variance, but that failed.

She had managed to push back her deadline this week, to take down the barn but when these contractors became available, she went ahead with it.

The cost of tearing down the barn and building it, twice, she estimates at around $70,000, which she says will irrevocably drain her retirement savings.

“My only fault in this whole thing, and I’ll own up to it, I trusted, I believed, and I went by the town’s guidance,” she exclaimed.

Even now, Kusse said that, If DiStacio were to ask the town for help and compensation, he’d bring it before the board, emphasizing “she did not start this problem.”