Town Committee Sees Progress in Removing Blight

The Property Maintenance Committee celebrated its progress toward removing “blight” from downtown and other areas of Derry when it met last week. The town’s most prominent vacant building, 41 East Broadway, a.k.a. “Broadway Pets,” is under destruction, as previously reported by the Nutfield News. But other neglected or abandoned properties are also being dealt with, with the goal of a cleaner, brighter Derry.

Jonathan Boutin, one of the town’s attorneys, has been working with Assistant Building Inspector Bob Wentworth on the still-to-be-dealt with properties, including:

• 357 Island Pond Road, owned by Michael Lacharite. Boutin is in the process of filing a petition with Probate Court to have the structure demolished.

• 213 Island Pond Road, owned by Lawrence Reimer. A structure on the property burned in 2000 and no action has been taken to remove it. Boutin is also filing a petition to take that building down.

• 19 Elm St., taken for nonpayment of taxes. The committee will discuss whether to auction the property or demolish it.

• 102 Chester Road, owned by Jacqueline Lopez, demolition permit issued, building to come down by end of month.

• 142 Chester Road, owned by Alden Burtt, vacant. “We have been unable to get in touch with the owner,” Wentworth said.

• Numbers 6, 8 and 14 East Broadway, owned by Harold Gross and the Charlotte Gross Revocable Trust, no response from owner. “Within a week or so, our attorney will take them to court,” Wentworth said.

• 58 English Range Road, owned by Richard Germaine. Wentworth said he has received concerned calls from neighbors that Germaine was operating an unauthorized car repair business. Boutin sent several letters asking for the vehicles to be removed. “We are taking him back to court,” Wentworth said.

• 43 East Derry Road, owned by Wesley Hill III. “We have been working with him for a while, and he is not resistant,” Wentworth said. “There are extenuating circumstances.”

• 8 Aiken St., owned by Ernest and Patricia Croteau. The issue here is a dilapidated garage, Wentworth said, and the Croteaus are planning to have it removed.

• 62 Crystal Ave., owned by Crystal Avenue LLC. The property contains a skimobile trailer covered with signs, Wentworth said, and he has asked to have it removed. “We’re dealing with attorneys on that one,” he said.

• 93 Hampstead Road, owned by Sheila Yu. The property has garage doors ripped off, a tree across the roof, animals in the garage and a semi-disassembled vehicle outside, Wentworth said, adding, “We sent a letter in June and heard nothing back.”

The former Brothers Variety at 34 South Ave. has been purchased and the new owner is making improvements, planning to open a convenience store, Wentworth said.

“We are seeing some progress,” committee chair Michael Fowler said. “We’re taking some things off, but at the same time, we’re putting things on the list. It’s incremental.”

There are bright spots, Wentworth said, especially when compliance is immediate. A vehicle was left behind when the former Chatila Bread Company closed at 22 Kendall Pond Road. “We sent them a letter and it was gone in two days,” Wentworth said, adding, “I wish they were all like that.”