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October 13, 2012

Long-neglected Salem property draws anger

SALEM — The latest volley in a fight that has raged for nearly two decades was fired several days ago by residents in one of the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods, the McIntire Historic District.

A letter by a Federal Street resident, signed by more than two dozen neighbors and city residents, demanded the city take action on 6 Federal Court, a 206-year-old brick house, with a barn, or carriage house, both of which have been vacant and deteriorating since the early 1990s.

The letter was sent to Mayor Kim Driscoll and other city officials.

It was triggered by a late September storm in which part of the carriage house roof reportedly blew off, damaging a car at adjacent 95 Federal St.

“We have been more than patient and understanding over the years, but given the events of this past week, we are now writing to demand action on the part of the building inspector, the city solicitor and our mayor, to bring about a substantive improvement and/or resolution to this distressing situation,” Bill Aydelott wrote on behalf of several owners of a nearby condo building.

The letter claimed the 6 Federal Court property not only presents a danger and health hazard, but has attracted a “criminal element” and vagrants.

“The carriage house part of that property is nothing if not a disastrous tinderbox that could result in a very serious fire...” Aydelott added.

The Salem News was not able to reach city officials late Friday, but city files reveal a long history of correspondence and conflict between the city and the property owners.

The city’s building department has repeatedly cited the property owner for code violations and gone to court to seek repairs or other action. Over the years, minor repairs or improvements have been made, but not the major work sought by neighbors, according to the files.

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