BEVERLY — With the beach only a few steps away, residents of lower Dane Street have some of the most scenic views in the city.
According to their testimony at City Hall, however, those views also include fist fights in the street, drug-dealing on the sidewalk and beer bottles being tossed from a second-floor balcony.
Neighbors told city councilors Monday night that the problems are coming from the Greycroft Inn, a three-story rooming house with 21 residents tucked into a residential neighborhood near Dane Street Beach. Ten neighbors asked councilors to either shut down the rooming house or impose restrictions on its operation.
"I need your help," Dane Street resident Elizabeth Schlein said. "I'm begging for it because I don't feel safe in Beverly."
The Greycroft Inn has been in existence for decades, but neighbors said the problems began when Beverly resident Aldo Corelli took over as owner in 2004. They say Corelli allowed two convicted sex offenders to move in and has failed to crack down on the fighting, swearing, drugs and loud music at the house.
Kate Veator, who lives across the street from Greycroft, said her 8-year-old daughter witnessed a scene in which a man chased a woman out of the rooming house into the street and swung a chair at the woman's head. Veator said she does not allow her daughters to play in their front yard because two convicted sex offenders lived in the rooming house.
"We had a year of domestic terrorism to some extent on our street," said Veator's husband, David. "It cries out for regulations."
Neighbors said they have tried to work with Corelli, with no results.
Corelli did not speak during the two-hour hearing, but was defended by his lawyer, Marshall Handly. Handly said Corelli has evicted the two sex offenders and has run criminal background checks on the other residents.