Status of abandoned, vacant properties updated

  • Members of the Vacant and Abandoned Building Committee review a list of actions to be taken on priority properties. From left to right, Harry Haldt, recording secretary, Deborah Vondal, Board of Health Agent, Athol Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Parker, and Building Inspector Robert Legare. —Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

  • This house at 204 Freedom St. in Athol was added to the Liabilities to Assets program for rehabilitation last month. Athol Daily News/Deborrah Porter

Staff Writer
Published: 8/23/2019 9:55:24 PM
Modified: 8/23/2019 9:55:10 PM

ATHOL – The Vacant and Abandoned Building Committee met this week to review several “top priority” properties, including 204 Freedom St. which last month was added to the Liabilities to Assets program for rehabilitation.

The property had to be approved by the Board of Selectmen in order to be added to the program. Committee member Deborah Vondal said the Freedom Street property would be a combined project of the Attorney General’s Abandoned Housing Initiative (AHI)/Receivership, which turns abandoned residential properties around, and the Liabilities to Assets program. There will be another LTA meeting on this project in September, with Athol Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Parker on the committee representing the town.

A home on 207 Walnut St. was demolished and the site graded. According to committee chair Robert Legare, there were two oil tanks on site and he is waiting for proof as to where they went. The permit will remain open until the fire department knows the location of the tanks.

Town Manager Shaun Suhoski is writing bid specs to demolish town-owned 1128 Main St. Legare said he believes there is enough money for the project.

Verizon, which has an easement on tax taken property at 316 White Pond Rd., has paid for a building permit for a tower upgrade. An asbestos test at the property was negative. Town Counsel John Barrett said they’re waiting for the foreclosure redemption (where homeowners can buy back the property) to expire.

The town-owned property of 954 Hapgood St. will be auctioned off on Sept. 26. Properties at 1079 Pleasant St., 49 Anzio Rd., and 415 Chestnut St. have been added to the auction list.

Vondal said the 2508 Petersham Rd., house, which includes several acres, was cleaned out and abandoned by the owners. It is marked with a red X for public safety and first responders and was secured for sale. The committee won’t be taking any action on it at this time.

The committee was in favor of reviewing the guidelines and bylaws that the newly reformed Vacant and Abandoned Building Committee inherited to make them more consistent.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 17 at the Town Hall.

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