, Gloucester, MA

July 30, 2013

Town presses more Sandy Bay Estates repairs

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — ROCKPORT — Following a visit from Rockport’s Health Agent Leslie Whelan to see if health and safety issues in Sandy Bay Estates have been fixed, the town has contacted its Boston-based law firm, Kopelman and Paige, to press the remaining issues through the legal process.

In June, Whelan issued a letter to Paragon Properties, the company that owns the apartment complex about 25 issues found on an earlier site visit.

Whelan said the conditions on the property have since improved.

”A number of things were completed, a number of things were not,” she said.

Sandy Bay Estates includes some 96 apartments, including a number of tenants are on federally subsidized housing assistance, commonly referred to as Section 8.

Leaks and walls have been fixed and the laundry room and pool have been cleaned up as well, according to Whelan’s followup last Thursday. But, cirting a number of items still not addressed as of last week , Kopelman and Paige will be issuing a letter to Paragon Properties about how best to move forward, Whelan said.

The Board of Health issued a similar letter about the lack of exterior lighting to Glick last April. And police, concerned about the lack of exterior lighting, have since followed up with the property, fiunding the exterior lights are now fully functional.

Some issues not fixed as of Thursday include dirt on the windows, rugs and issues with safety railing along the property. In addition, tenants stated in their complaint last month that snow from past storms was not removed until 3 p.m., after a heavy snow drove from Worcester — which is about 85 miles away, the letter from the town notes that local crews be hired to remove snow.

Paragon Properties President Steven Glick, reached by the Times Monday, declined to comment on the record, but a representative of Paragon said the handrails and other issues were being repaired Monday.

Under state law, the Board of Health may petition the court system to have rent paid to a court rather than Paragon to force any needed and lingering repairs. The court then appoints someone who spends as much of the rent money needed to fix the remaining problems.

Some tenants, meanwhile, have since organized a tenants union, which is scheduled to holds its first meeting Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on the front lawn of building seven.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at