The apartment building at 184 Church Street in Burlington has been an eyesore for years, attracting dozens of 911 calls and reports of violence. At one point, Mayor Miro Weinberger called it the “most problematic” property in the city, and neighborhood residents even tried to erect a fence around it.
In June, city housing standards inspectors identified 46 deficiencies and ordered the owner, Charlie Handy, to make significant improvements ahead of Monday’s meeting of Burlington’s Housing Review Board.
But, according to Bill Ward, the city’s director of permitting and inspections, Handy hasn’t complied.
“With the exception of one small item, there were essentially no other changes to the property,” Ward said.
At Monday’s hearing, Handy’s attorney Brian Hehir said that Handy had agreed to draft a management plan that includes rehousing tenants while the deficiencies are addressed.
“There are units available for them, and the owner is facilitating their relocation,” Hehir said.
Ward said the agreement would require Handy to make repairs to the building. He said the tenants would need to leave their apartments before a timeframe for the repairs can be determined.
“There may need to be some architectural drawings, but we’ve asked them to consider that early so there aren’t delays,” Ward said.
Five of the 17 units in the building are vacant; three other tenants are in the process of being evicted. The remaining nine tenants will be re-housed within 30 days.
“That would be up to the judicial process, but there will be a provision for that in the management plan,” Ward said.
Where the nine tenants will be housed is not yet known. The board is scheduled to meet again October 10 to review the terms of the management agreement.
But board members are concerned that the agreement has yet to be put into writing.
“I do worry that in two weeks, we’re going to come back and there hasn’t been an agreement,” said board member Josh Wronski.
Ward, however, said he is confident Handy will follow through. And he said he will inspect the building himself to make sure the tenants have a safe, clean place to live.
“We’d ask that we’d have the ability to independently check the building, which is something I would do myself.”