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Board of Health Inspector Cal Joppru said the building has been unoccupied since 1998 and is dangerous for anyone to enter because of damages.

Lanesborough Selectmen Order Demolition of Abandoned Building

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has voted to order the demolition of an abandoned house at 310 North Main St. after urging from Board of Health Inspector Cal Joppru.

"The house has to come down. It's in terrible shape," Joppru said before the Selectmen prior to the board's vote last week. The order stipulates the property owner has 30 days to demolish the building.

Joppru said he condemned the building in 2016, but because of various solar projects and the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not been much more action on the issue. He said the current condition of the building is unsalvageable.

"There's big holes in the roof. The place hasn't been occupied since 1998, and the floors are collapsing; one of the back walls is coming out," Joppru said. "It's not a property you could rehab. If it was something they could rehab, that's one thing, but this has to come down, period. In my opinion."

Building Inspector W. Rick Reid said he spoke with the property owner last year, who told him he planned to hire a contractor to tear the building down. He said he has been trying to re-establish contact to resolve the issue.

"In the last year, more of it has caved in on itself," he said. "When you look inside the door, which is not boarded up, the floor is gone. I mean, the building is definitely in total disrepair. And with more roof holes, it's just falling in on itself."

Joppru and Ried both said the building is a danger to anyone who potentially is entering it, especially firefighters and other first responders.

"I think, if nothing else, we probably should mark the building with a red X. I don't think anyone should enter that building," he said. "I think it definitely should be identified as the floors are gone, and nobody should enter the building. If the thing were to burn, there's nothing around it, and if you can't go in it, the thing would just burn and fall in on itself."

Town Counsel Jeffery Blake said if demolishing does not happen within the 30 days, the town can bring it to court and tear it down themselves.

"At that point, what we do is we go into court and ask for a court order to enforce our order and allow us to go in and tear down," Blake said. He noted any costs associated with this could go on the property owner's tax bill, and the property can be foreclosed and taken by the town if it goes unpaid.

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Pittsfield Police Advisory Board Wants Voice in Use of Body Cameras

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Following the City Council's endorsement of dashboard and body cameras on Pittsfield Police, the Police Advisory Review Board would like to review the equipment's policy before anything is implemented.

Chair Ellen Maxon this week asked the board members if they would like to take a vote to support body cameras but some were unsure of their stance. Instead, the panel motioned Tuesday to request that in the event that the Police Department adopts such a program, PARB reviews the governing policies before implementation.

The conversation is in response to the death of Miguel Estrella at the hands of a police officer in late March, which has sparked a significant community response along with conversations about police accountability and the lack of mental health support.

"I still have a pretty mixed opinion because I feel like something like body cameras, people think that's going to be the end all, be all and we don't have to do any more work," board member Erin Sullivan said, adding that there is a bigger problem beyond video surveillance.

Board member Dennis Powell, who is also president of the Berkshire NAACP, wished not to share his thoughts on body cameras at the moment.  

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