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March 25, 2013

Rooming house is denied license

BEVERLY — When the owner of the Greycroft Inn appeared before the City Council in November, councilors threatened to close the troubled rooming house if it did not clean up its act.

That did not happen, unless you consider a SWAT team a positive sign.

Two months after that November meeting, police raided the rooming house and arrested a resident on drug and gun charges. The incident proved to be the final straw for city councilors.

Last Monday, the City Council refused to renew the Greycroft Inn’s rooming house license, a decision that could force the relocation of its 20 residents but also, councilors hope, end the problems that have persisted there for years.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the best thing for the residents in this situation is to move forward with a new owner as rapidly as possible,” Councilor Jim Latter said.

The Greycroft Inn’s license will expire on March 31. City Solicitor Roy Gelineau said it’s not clear what will happen to the residents but said the city will assist them in any way it can.

“I’m sure the mayor doesn’t want anybody out on the street,” Gelineau said. “I don’t think anybody wants legitimate, lawful residents to be out on the street.”

The Greycroft Inn, at 68 Dane St., has been in trouble with the city at various stages over the years due to complaints from neighbors about noise, rowdiness and crime.

The City Council, which has the authority to revoke rooming house licenses, granted the Greycroft Inn a temporary three-month extension of its license in December under certain conditions, including hiring a resident manager and conducting criminal background checks of its residents.

On Feb. 6, a SWAT team descended on the house and arrested Roland Masse, 36, on charges of trafficking in cocaine, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition and other charges. Beverly detectives found powdered and crack cocaine, a .38-caliber revolver with a defaced serial number, and cash from drug sales.

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