NORTH ADAMS -- Eleven years after it was first declared a public nuisance and ordered to be taken down, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to again declare 160 Eagle St., Rear, a public nuisance.
During a public hearing prior to the start of the regular council meeting, Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said the city has been scheduling tear downs and the building had come up on the list.
"The order was so old that we decided to seek the opinion of the city solicitor, who suggested we issue a new order," he said. "The building continues to be in a sorry state of disrepair. I will most likely bring in an order calling for the property to be razed or rehabilitated at the next meeting."
Building Inspector William Meranti said the property remains in the same state, if not a worse condition, than it was in 2001.
"The action on this property was started by my predecessor, when I was the assistant building inspector," he said.
The property -- currently listed as being owned by Nandez LLC and Michael Hernandez, who is also listed as the resident manager for Nandez LLC -- was first declared a public nuisance in January 2001, when an order was issued stating that the property must be razed or rehabilitated by Feb. 9, 2001. According to a 2001 Transcript article, Hernandez threatened to file an injunction to stop the order, saying the building had been brought up to the minimum requirements of the state building code.
"In my opinion, nothing substantial has been done," Meranti said. "There are major structural deficits with the building."
Councilor David Bond questioned if Hernandez had corresponded with Meranti’s office and if he had recently applied for a building permit.
"Yes, he has. Š To summarize the emails, they are about what he intends to do," Meranti said. "He applied for a building permit, but no work has been done. I will say that I issued a building permit two months ago, but that I could not refuse to issue it. We’re looking to tear it down. ... There is a history of this building being a nuisance."
Councilor Jennifer Breen said she had driven by the house after reading one of Hernandez’s emails.
"All I saw in the single email I received was platitudes and threats," she said. "I drove by it. It’s a rat hole. It’s a safety issue. I feel sorry for the neighbors."
Councilor John Barrett III also called for the property to be razed, reminding councilors that Hernandez would have 30 days to bring the building up to code, raze it himself, or file an injunction.
"This house is a danger. It’s blight," he said.
Should Hernandez fail to do anything with the property, the city can tear it down and place a lien on the property.
In other action, the council unanimously approved a $160,000 borrowing order for technology upgrades at City Hall; the transfer of $10,600 from the city’s reserve account to the repairs and maintenance services building account for the tear down of 69 Chase Ave., which was damaged by a recent fire; an order calling for the state primary election to be held on Sept. 6; an order appointing election workers; and an order granting a small tract of land on Route 2 to Wilfred and Suzanne Rose, owners of the former West End Auto Body Shop.
The couple has been unable to sell their property on State Road because a portion of the former auto body shop sat on city land. The order granted the land, with a permanent easement to the city, to the couple.