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Inspections Continue for Code Violations

A Milford task force checking into housing conditions found multiple violations at several addresses in the Water and Oliver street neighborhoods.

The Neighborhood Task Force is local properties on streets that are the subject of frequent complaints, and will make this a weekly routine as many problems are being uncovered, said Town Administrator Louis Celozzi.

"We're discovering illegal apartments again," Celozzi said. "We're discovering all sorts of problems." Town residents, he said, have responded enthusiastically to the inspections, and are calling town offices with tips: "About time, thank you, and here's another one."

Dino DeBartolomeis, chairman of the Milford Selectmen, said "the landlords are quite upset with us," but the enforcement actions are needed.

In some cases, he said, the inspectors have found faulty wiring, four to five unregistered vehicles in a yard, an unfenced pool, and exit ramps or steps that do not meet building codes.

"These are violations that are deplorable," DeBartolomeis said.

On Sept. 14, the task force — which includes representatives of the Department of Inspections, Board of Health, Fire Department and Police Department — visited portions of Water Street and the even side of Oliver Street, along with a few other sites.

Several properties were found to have violations of health, fire, building and/or zoning codes, according to John Erickson, the town's Building Commissioner, in a Sept. 20 report to

Each property owner has been notified of the violations in writing, and given a timeframe of up to 14 days to resolve the issues, Erickson wrote. In addition, he wrote, all of the property owners identified in the Sept. 7 site visits to Bancroft Avenue and Water Street have "all made contact with this office" and the town is "actively working" with them to resolve the issues.

According to the report, the following properties were found to have violations as of the Sept. 14 site visits:

  • 10 Cherry St., owner Xiaowei Yang, violations: building code, vacant and open to the weather.
  • 35 E. Main St., owner Felicio Lana, violations: building code (existing non conforming egress), zoning code (rooming house), health code (healthful housing regulation) and health code (abundance of refuse).
  • 28 Oliver St., owner Ana Cerqueira, violations: zoning (illegal dwelling units), building code (failure to obtain required inspections)
  • 4 Oliver St., owner Hyman Stramer, violations: building code (construction without permit, latent conditions, existing non conforming egress), zoning code (illegal contractor yard), health code (abundance of refuse).
  • 6 Oliver St., owner Hyman Stramer, violations: building code ( existing non conforming egress, unsafe accessory structure, broken window/open to weather) zoning code (illegal contractor yard) Hazardous electrical service, health code (abundance of refuse).
  • 28-30 Water St., owner Hyman Stramer, violations: building code (construction without permit, non conforming egress, latent conditions).
  • 32-34 Water St., owner Hyman Stramer, violations: building code (latent conditions).
  • 12 Oliver St., owner Hyman Stramer, violations: building code (certification of egress, existing non conforming egress) zoning code (illegal contractor yard), Hazardous wiring, health code (abundance of refuse).
  • 14 Oliver St., owner Hyman Stramer, violations: building code (existing non conforming egress) zoning code (illegal contractor's yard), hazardous wiring.

After receiving the update, selectmen said they wanted specifically to speak with Stramer, after noting he is the owner of six of the nine properties on the week's update.

Selectman Brian Murray said he wanted Stramer to come before the board to explain why he has allowed the properties to get into such a condition. "These are horrible, horrible living situations," Murray said.

On Wednesday, Stramer said he was in the process of addressing the violations. "All of the issues are being addressed," he said. "I am going to meet with the selectmen and address this thoroughly."

Stramer said he has a strong attachment to the town, and has always worked with its inspectors. He said he was unaware of some requirements, including that porches have to be inspected "every five years."

"I've always addressed every issue that's been brought to my attention."

Ernie September 29, 2011 at 04:30 PM
"...porches have to be inspected every five years." I would bet there are a lot of people who have never heard of this. Perhaps Patch could interview Building Commissioner Erickson and ask about some of the lesser known building codes (i.e. those that have not been enforced for years and years). It would also be good to have some examples about what makes an egress 'non-conforming'. Some Milford homeowners, who have not been the subject of any complaints, might be willing to have their properties inspected voluntarily to identify some of these lesser known building code issues -- that have not been enforced for years and years. But they would not be willing to do so if their names and addresses were going to be published. The Town could take an enlightened approach and create a voluntary inspection program (with something more lenient than the 14 day repair deadline) and even award a certificate of 'safe housing' which might help families make a better decision about which apt. to rent and might allow owners to seek higher rents. The Neighborhood Task Force approach -- targeting problem properties -- is a great deal more positive that the Board of Health's inspection program of several years ago that resulted in court challenges, anger and a lot of front page, bold headline, negative publicity for Milford.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) September 29, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Good idea, thanks Ernie.
Myd Nevins September 29, 2011 at 05:58 PM
I never would have known about the porch reinspection either. Makes sense though as at least a handful of times a year a porch collapses somewhere and peope get hurt. Good idea about the voluntary inspecttions. Maybe even see if a person's insurance company might give a small discount if there were a certificate.
Ernie September 29, 2011 at 09:20 PM
Good idea about the the insurance company discount; some (many?) of us receive reduced rates for safe driving. Thinking a bit more about a voluntary inspection program: the folks responsible for code enforcement could come up with a limited list of the most significant issues that would effect resident and firefighter safety. The list would not include every single possible building code issue but a sufficient number of issues to obtain a significant level of safety. Property owners who meet those standards could receive a certificate valid for a specified period of time. And no public exposure if they volunteer for an inspection but do not meet those standards. Another thought might be for the Building Inspector to conduct public information meetings for property owners concerning current building codes as it seems new ones get added and some old ones are not enforced and thus forgotten. With a new Building Inspector in place, the Town has an opportunity to move ahead in a vigorous, yet positive, way.

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