Vacant properties garner fines

Two Mission Hill properties on the City’s “distressed buildings” list, both owned by John Darling, show no signs of improvement, one after 14 years of being on the list. Darling owes the City $3,525 in fines for the two properties.

A small commercial building at 6 Pontiac St. and 721-723 Parker St., a four-family house, were both listed on the Department of Neighborhood Development’s (DND) Distressed Buildings List 2011 report, the latest report available. The Pontiac Street property has been on the list for 14 years, as long as reliable records have been kept, DND spokesperson Kerry O’Brien told the Gazette.

A Gazette phone call to Darling was not returned.

According to the DND website, a distressed building is considered to be any residential, commercial, industrial, or mixed-use building that is not occupied and has visible signs of physical distress.

According to the City’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD), the Pontiac Street property has amassed $2,935 in fines and late fees, mostly for overgrown weeds, improperly stored trash and graffiti.

During a recent Gazette visit, two fines were wedged into the doorjamb. A window was broken and the building looked abandoned.

According to ISD, the Parker Street property has amassed $590 in fines and fees for similar causes: overgrown weeds, improperly stored trash and illegal parking. During a visit, the Gazette observed two broken windows, boarded-up doors, a broken gutter and overgrown vines reclaiming an upstairs corner of the house. There also were several cars parked on the property, one with out-of-state plates.

The Parker property has started foreclosure proceedings twice, in 2002 and 2009. City records indicate that Darling remains the owner, ISD spokesperson Lisa Timberlake told the Gazette.

The Pontiac property was named a “blighted area” by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in 2004. The City filed to seize the property for unpaid taxes in 2007 and late 2011.

Darling has several properties in Jamaica Plain with similar issues. He recently was taken to housing court by ISD, following a police visit that found evidence of squatters in one of those properties. He was ordered to secure the property.

6 Pontiac St. (Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira)

721-723 Parker St. (Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira)

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