Home Declared Nuisance; One More Possible in 2013

Two multi-family homes are causing problems in the city.


Two multi-family homes are causing a nuisance in the city, at least according to city officials. While one residence was officially declared a problem last week, the other has a reprieve until February.

City Council declared the three-family home at 34 Orange St. (29 Hawthorne St.) a nuisance, and ordered the Building Department, Fire Department and Board of Health to further inspect the home for problems. The home has been owned by Jeffrey P. Russo of Winchester since 2005 and is a rental property.

In addition to a roof issue, Alderman Darlene Mercer-Bruen stated that a car needed to be removed from the property and a fence needs to be fixed. "Junk" and other trash needs to be cleaned up, as well.

In the ruling, the Council voted that the windows are also in disrepair and that the home "is a dangerous or unsafe building."

Officials noted that there is "evidence of a scrap metal business being operated on the property in violation of the Woburn Zoning Code."

"The condition of the property is interfering with the use and enjoyment of the abutting properties by neighbors," said officials in the nuisance order. "[And] owners have been unresponsive to repeated requests by the Building Commissioner to remedy or improve the condition of the property."

While the Orange Street property will be going through the various inspections, a home on Campbell Street has been given a reprieve until 2013.

City Councillors had discussed the property at 18-20 Campbell St. as a nuisance earlier this year. Since then, a stabbing occurred at the property and resulted in an arrest.

The two-family home was purchased by Deryl L. Whitham in 1995; Whitham remains the owner of record, according to the city's Assessors Database.

According to Alderman Michael Anderson, "problems persist" at the property and "the owner has avoided contact [from] the city."

Anderson informed councillors that the state Attorney General is seeking "receivership" for the property through Woburn District Court. Through the receivership, tenants will be evicted and the property restored.

In the past, the house has been deemed an illegal "boarding house" and the city plans to levy fines for that violation.

The city will re-evaluate the home and property in February of next year.


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