WOBURN - With Building Commissioner Thomas Quinn declaring the property free of code infractions, the City Council earlier this week declined to classify a Garfield Avenue home as a public nuisance.
During a meeting in City Hall on Tuesday night, the aldermen voted unanimously to place-on-file a months old petition seeking to declare the two-family residence by Green Street a nuisance.
The city officials, whose action effectively dismisses the proceedings, closed out the public hearing after Raymond Gordon and Jamie Doughty, longtime tenants at 52 Garfield Ave., urged the council to end their deliberations.
"We really don't have much to say. I was hoping we could put this behind us," said Gordon, who a few months ago vehemently denied allegations of being a bad neighbor. "This was about us using a fire pit in the backyard. There hasn't been a complaint since [this hearing opened last fall]."
Appearing to support the tenants' reasoning, Quinn earlier this month notified the council that he has found no evidence of any zoning or building code violations at the 9,583 square foot property. According to the building commissioner, after months of confusion, city officials have also tracked down the official owner of the two-family house.
"I will advise that site visits have ben conducted over the last few months to observe the existing conditions. [A]t this time, the property appears to be occupied and there is no evidence of any zoning or building code violations," wrote Quinn in a Jan. 7 memo to the aldermen.
The city's assessor's office recently updated its records concerning the two-family's landlord, which is now listed as California-based Wilmington Savings Fund Society. The company, rumored to have purchased the property after the house passed between a series of banks and ownership groups during the past decade, apparently also goes by the name of Christiana Trust.
The entity reportedly took formal possession of the house back in August, nearly a dozen years after the last homeowner passed away.
Ward 2 Alderman Richard Gately first filed the nuisance petition back in September. During an initial public hearing on the matter a month later, the South End official told his colleagues that he had fielded a number of complaints about disturbances at the home involving late night gatherings and use of a fire pit.
Gately also claimed that he and Alderman at-large Robert Ferullo, who was at that time serving as Woburn's police chief, responded to a similar series of complaints about the house nearly a decade ago.
During a subsequent public hearing in November, Doughty and Gordon insisted most of the neighborhood issues stemmed from disagreements with a single neighbor, who apparently considers the two tenants to be squatters.
The pair, pointing out they had never been arrested or convicted of a crime, also denied being associated with any trouble associated with the house's former landlords.
The South End house was long-owned by a lifelong Woburnite and World War II veteran, who enjoyed immense professional success as a semiconductor engineer. Towards the end of his life, he fell into ill health and moved in with a relative, who was later convicted on fraud charges related to her partner's home improvement business in Wilmington.
After both parties were convicted and sentenced, the Garfield Avenue became the subject of extended foreclosure proceedings during the subprime mortgage crisis — when cities and towns across the country struggled to identify the true owners of thousands of houses across the country.