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This John Street multifamily is now added to the list of properties slated to be razed.

One-Time Campaign Backdrop Finally Approved For Demolition

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It was three years ago when then-candidate for mayor Linda Tyer stood in front of a dilapidated John Street property and campaigned against blight.
 
"We have neighbors to this particular property who are doing their best to maintain their properties and sadly the condition of this property is having a negative effect with diminished property values and diminished quality of life. This will be a top, top priority for me in my administration," she said at the time.
 
The three-unit rental property at 49-55 John St. was the backdrop. On Wednesday, the Board of Health ordered for it to be demolished.
 
"This property has been a blight in the neighborhood for more than seven years and it's time," Code Enforcement Inspector Mark Blaisdell told the Board of Health.
 
Blaisdell said code enforcement began seven years ago. In October 2016, the department ramped up issuing nuisance letters, ticketing the property owner, issuing nuisance orders, and even met with the property owner multiple times on site.
 
"Code enforcement has remained unsuccessful. He does the most minimal things to do for compliance," Blaisdell said.
 
Blaisdell said the property is a safety risk for anybody who walks onto it and cited some specific areas of the building that were in "dire need" of repair.
 
In May 2017, the city issued an order of condemnation. And now, the Board of Health has given the OK for it to be demolished.
 
Health Director Gina Armstrong said the house will be added to another lengthy list of properties awaiting demolition. A "code enforcement team" consisting of the building inspectors and Fire, Health, and Engineering departments meets monthly with representatives from Community Development and the city solicitor, and the Purchasing Department will  determine which of those on the list gets taken down.
 
Just recently, that group ordered four other properties to be razed. Later in the year, the city is expected to order another round of demolitions and 49-55 John St. could end up on that list. Or, it could end up being pushed to a later round. Armstrong said the properties chosen for demolition are based on a number of factors and not necessarily in order of when the demolitions were approved.
 
The Board of Health also issued demolition orders for  37-39 Curtis St. and 100 John St. as well on Wednesday, adding to the number of properties slated to eventually meet their maker. 

Tags: blight,   demolition,   

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PARB Awaiting State Guidance To Inform Use Of Force Policy Changes

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Police Advisory and Review Board issued a statement reaffirming the current use of force policy while it awaits state guidance on the subject.
 
The board voted last week to issue a statement that essentially mirrored current policy that states maneuvers designed to reduce blood or airflow are not authorized or trained by the department.
 
"I think saying something in the interim would be good and would let the public know that we have concerns about this," Chairwoman Ellen Maxon said. 
 
Through the summer, the board has discussed possible changes to the Police Department's Use of Force policy, specifically eliminating neck restraints.
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