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Haverhill

December 11, 2013

City plansto flatten problem buildings

Council approves razing four homes with rodents, safety issues

HAVERHILL — The wrecking ball cometh.

City Council voted last night to demolish four of five homes on a list of Haverhill’s most deteriorated and dangerous abandoned buildings.

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

The properties up for demotion are: 18 Warren St., 5 Cypress St., 2 Tyler Ave., 36 School St. and 16 Margerie St. The council held separate public hearings on each one last night to give interested people a final chance to save their buildings.

Three people showed up to attempt to save their properties from the wrecking ball. One succeeded — for now.

James Cleary, a local attorney for Brian Langlois, who co-owns the School Street home, told councilors his client recently signed a letter of intent with a buyer to sell the property. Cleary said a problem with the deed has delayed the transaction, but that he expects the matter to be resolved in a month or so.

Building Inspector Richard Osborne said Langlois has worked with the city to board up the home. The council voted 8-0 to postpone the matter until the council’s Jan. 24 meeting.

Kevin McCarthy, who identified himself as an employee of a local management company trying to rehabilitate and sell the Tyler Avenue and Warren Street buildings, was less successful.

Osborne said both those buildings have been abandoned and open to intrusion for more than a year, and that both are infested with rodents and are fire hazards. The Tyler Avenue home has a collapsed ceiling and leaky roof, Osborne said.

McCarthy said both properties have been held up in litigation and that, until recently, his company had been prohibited from entering either building to secure and maintain them. But, as a result of the city’s notice that it planned to demolish the buildings, a court recently gave the company permission to enter the homes for the purpose of boarding them up, McCarthy said. He asked the council to delay its decision until February to give his company time to rehabilitate the homes and attempt to sell them.

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