Published in the December 21, 2016 edition


LYNNFIELD — An emergency declaration was made by the selectmen Monday night to address the imminent threat to public health and safety posed by the state of the dilapidated buildings at the defunct Perley Burrill property.

By a 2-0 vote with one abstention, the board directed Town Administrator Jim Boudreau to inform the state Department of Revenue (DOR) that the town would be moving forward to seek cost estimates for the removal of both the home and the barn on the property at 914 Salem St. prior to an authorization from Town Meeting to expend those funds.

This emergency declaration is necessary because the funds needed to complete the work were not included in the FY17 budget as the town did not own the property when the current fiscal year budget was approved last April.

Due to the hazards posed by the state of these buildings and the damage that can be done to abutting private property owners, as well as the risk to human life, the selectmen and T.A. believe an emergency declaration is necessary.

Voting in favor of the emergency declaration were Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford and Selectman Dick Dalton. Abstaining from the vote was Selectman Chris Barrett, who is a direct abutter to the site. Barrett took a seat in the audience during the discussion and did not participate in the deliberations.

The town plans to raze the buildings before the snow flies.

“The board is aware that we have taken Perley Burrill for tax title. The home and the barn are in serious disrepair and they need to be taken down,” Boudreau said. “The town does not have an appropriation to do that work. In order for us to engage a consultant and eventually a contractor, the board has to declare that there is an ‘immediate threat to health and public safety to persons and property,’ and declare a local emergency.”

Boudreau explained that such a declaration will enable the town to petition the DOR for approval to spend funds for this purpose without an appropriation.

Subsequently, Boudreau added, “Town Meeting will have to make good the appropriation and we will tack that (cost) onto the property when we dispose of it.”

Crawford said he appreciated that the T.A. had brought this request forward.

“As you know, this has been one of my pet peeves for the past four years and I’m glad that we are at least getting to this point so we can clean up the property so that it is safe for the neighborhood,” the chairman said.

Crawford said he does not believe either buildings will last another winter without falling down, therefore, it is “incumbent” on the town to “make it safe.”

“It certainly is in an emergency situation right now. Most of the buildings to the right are already falling down,” Crawford said, adding that the town had already fenced the site off and should clean the site up before the winter due to the risk of it caving in under the weight of snow.

“There is a big piece of it that is leaning toward the neighbor’s property,” Crawford said.

Prior to razing the buildings, the town, or the contractor acting on the town’s behalf, must go through the required protocol of fumigating the premises for vermin such as mice. The property will also be inspected for the presence of asbestos. If asbestos is found, the town must ensure that the proper mitigation procedures for airborne particulates are followed and the materials are disposed of properly. The building inspector will oversee the permitting process for razing the buildings.

After the declaration was passed, Boudreau said, “We’ll send a letter to the Bureau of Accounts tomorrow to get the approval for the spending, and then we’ll get to work.”