EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 12, 2013

Owners get one last chance to save buildings

Council decides Dec. 10 on razing city's 5 most deteriorated homes

HAVERHILL — The owners of five neglected and deteriorated buildings have one last chance to save their property from the city’s demolition list.

The City Council has set Dec. 10 as the final date for the owners to submit plans to make repairs or sell the buildings.

Mayor James Fiorentini has requested the council’s permission to demolish the buildings, saying they are the worst abandoned buildings in the city and are hurting property values in neighborhoods.

Council approval of demolition is required under state law, the mayor said, and would trigger a 60-day deadline for the owners to sell their properties, begin maintaining them or risk seeing them knocked down.

At last night’s meeting, councilors scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 10 to hear from the owners of the five buildings or anyone else who wants to heard before they vote on each property.

The properties are: 18 Warren St., 5 Cypress St., 2 Tyler Ave., 36 School St. and 16 Margerie St.

Councilor Thomas Sullivan, who is also a lawyer, said an owner of one of the properties contacted his law office yesterday to ask if there is any way to get his property off the demolition list. He said the man who contacted him is disabled and has a disabled wife.

“He said he has offer to buy his property from Habitat for Humanity and may sell soon,” Sullivan said, noting that the Habitat for Humanities charity often buys dilapidated buildings, rehabilitates them and then rents them to poor people.

Fiorentini said another owner visited his office yesterday with a similar story.

“The last thing we want to do is knock down someone’s home,” the mayor said. “But we’ve heard these promises and excuses for a long time. It’s time for them to do something.”

Fiorentini suggested that at the public hearing councilors insist on seeing proof that an owner intends to begin maintaining or sell their building before removing any properties from the demolition list. Such proof, he said, could be in the form of a purchase-and-sale agreement or similar document.

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