Delehanty Seeks Community Support for New Ordinance

Friday, March 22, 2013
By Cary Shuman

Police Chief Terence Delehanty is asking the community to support a sanitary fitness ordinance that would allow a pro-active approach to the inspection of homes, multi-family dwellings, and rental units in the town.

“As you saw in tonight’s presentation, it is an issue for us,” said Delehanty alluding to comments by interim building commissioner John Barrett that there 300-500 illegal apartments in the town.

Delehanty said that in addition to that eye-opening revelation from the building inspector, the Winthrop Police Department over the past five years has had to respond to 392 calls to six properties “whose landlords live out of town.”

Delehanty’s call for support came after some stinging remarks from resident Guy Brandenstein during the public speaking portion of the meeting. Brandenstein said the measure “was tabled by this [Town] Council a month ago.”

“How many times do the people of Winthrop have to say, No?” Brandenstein bellowed to the Council

Delehanty said that he wants the public to send emails to the councilors and the town manager’s office in support of public safety, “so we’re not going in to any of these death traps.”

“It’s only a matter of time before we have a major fire in these death traps and a firefighter or a police officer or a neighbor is severely injured or succumbs to these circumstances,” said Delehanty. “And we shouldn’t tolerate that in this community. We can increase the value of these properties, build a better tax base, and really fight for our community to survive. We’re on the cliff. We can go down or we can go up.”

Delehanty said under the ordinance the Board of Health and Building Department would conduct the home inspections.

“I want to make that very clear – the police will not be inspecting any properties. However, this issue is very important to the police because these properties that are very run down attract a certain type of clientele and that clientele increases the police response to these properties. By making sure that these properties are up to code, it would decrease the call volumes and that’s how it affects the police and fire departments.”

  • Hamhanded

    Private residence “inspections” on a regular basis by any government agency, whether police, building inspector, or board of health, should require a court-issued warrant unless there is an emergency situation, and that would include vermin, externally visible fire threats, complaints from tenants, and other causes. A town ordinance to allow any town agency official to burst into a dwelling is a constitutional violation that needs to be rejected out of hand. Whether or not he police chief sanctions that idea. And, no, we don’t want to see his officers or fire department officials being injured.

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