ON POLLUTED GROUND: Lowell condo resi...

ON POLLUTED GROUND: Lowell condo residents learned their homes ...

There are 140 comments on the Lowell Sun story from Jan 28, 2010, titled ON POLLUTED GROUND: Lowell condo residents learned their homes .... In it, Lowell Sun reports that:

She is tired of being constantly on guard against her 2-year-old daughter, Abigail Conroy, touching the contaminated soil on the grounds of the Willard Street condo complex where they live.

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Woburn, MA

#1 Jan 28, 2010
No one thought to hire a housing inspector before buying their condo?
Worthless property

United States

#2 Jan 28, 2010
Housing inspector was used but this issue wasn't brought to light until after the purchase. Housing inspectors do not test the soil surrounding the condo. The owners had no way of knowing and now their property is worthless. Just think if all of a sudden your property became worthless. Your life and money is tied up.
Mike Gibbs

Burlington, MA

#3 Jan 28, 2010
As an owner of a unit at Grand Manor, I too feel no taxes should be collected for property which is now essentially worthless. Taxes are based on assessed value, if you cannot sell a property due to environmental issues, then the property has NO assessed value. The City should have NEVER sold this property to a developer for residential development, that in itself is highly unethical. The law states that the current owners of a property are responsible for toxic waste cleanup costs, plus any other responsible parties. This law is a perfect example of why so many toxic waste dumps remain uncleaned, current owner's who had no responsibility or knowledge of the waste are unfairly assessed the clean up cost. I wish I had never bought my unit, it has turned into a real nightmare.
Mike Gibbs

Burlington, MA

#4 Jan 28, 2010
Smooth, I know I did, as I'm sure all buyers did who bought there. How would this be discovered by a housing inspector? They inspect the inside and outside of the property, the toxic material was buried and out of sight. No one was aware or ever told that the site was a former dump site, if any of us had, we never would have bought there. A housing inspector doesn't bring in a backhoe and start digging up the property and running thousands of dollars of tests for soil contaminants.

United States

#5 Jan 28, 2010
Smooth wrote:
No one thought to hire a housing inspector before buying their condo?
Housing inspectors do not conduct environmental analysis of the land. If you want this done, you either need to hire someone specifically to do it.

What bothers me is that construction of residences on former landfills is illegal - at least I thought it was. I believe the primary reason for this is that the substrate is subject to settling and would thus compromise the foundation. Of course, that does not address the problem of potential contaminants.

My guess is that if the city knew about the landfill, it should have never granted a building permit in the first place.

For the sake of the residents, I hope that Lowell is held accountable for this and makes good.

...this is an example of negligence at its worst.

If any of the residents of the association read this - suggest to your chairman to start looking for a good lawyer. Hopefully you can recoup your losses. There may be more to gain from a lawsuit than just loss of property value - if it can be proven that the city acted negligently, there may be additional damages to gain.
runningman 555

Haverhill, MA

#6 Jan 28, 2010
wow this sounds like another illegal property shame shame on the city of lowell someone in city hall gave the builder the permits to build this building can I see the permits on this propert from city hall I want to see the names on them someone from city hall must have a full piggy bank from the pay offs this is why I hate politics they are just legal robbers they just don't us a gun
runningman 555

Haverhill, MA

#7 Jan 28, 2010
attention residents I would abandon this property and sue the city for losses latter if there is a posion in the soil it needs to be abandoned asap what about the sales of these condo's why shouldn't the realestate people be fingered in this they are liable for not disclosing this problem sue them too sue them all what will happen to your children in the years to come and also you will you die from these contaminates ?
leo dracut

Dracut, MA

#8 Jan 28, 2010
City Of Lowell should pay to clean up and pay for there mistake

Norfolk, MA

#9 Jan 28, 2010
I think this project was built back in the 80's. Wasn't Tully in power then?
runningman 555

Haverhill, MA

#10 Jan 28, 2010
hello city of lowell why don't you just build another development like this on on willard and make all the persons happy .then level this one and give all the residents a nice check to help with the stress of the problem also you need to set asside some money in case somone from this condo unit building needs to be hospitalized from the poison's they ingested while living there and do you know that resident's near this location may develop health problems from this property so save the money in escrow to pay for this
Mike Gibbs

Burlington, MA

#11 Jan 28, 2010
This is a question for the condo association officers, has any lawyer ever looked into whether or not it was legal to build on a former dump site in 1981, or, what the legal requirements were in 1981 for capping a dump site? The City claimed initially they 'had no knowledge' of the dump site ever belonging to the City, but after a number of newspaper articles were found from the time period of the dump's operation continually referring to the property as being owned by the City of Lowell, they stopped making those claims. Whether the City was aware of the properties' former use or not is irrelevant. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If it was illegal to build residential structures on a former dump site in 1981, I really don't see how we do not have a very good legal case.
Mike Gibbs

Boston, MA

#12 Jan 28, 2010
The other issue I have with this whole situation is that I paid a lot of money, as did every other resident who purchased a condo there, for a Title search. Why doesn't something like a property being used as dump site not be discovered? This is a matter of public record. Not only do liens on a property matter, but former use of a property also matter. How many times in this country has this same scenario played out? Anybody remember The Love Canal in New York?
leo dracut

Dracut, MA

#13 Jan 28, 2010
City Of Lowell should buy out the poor condo's owners. If not they should clean up the site ASAP. It's a disgrace to live like that. Shame on Lowell for selling the land.
Mike Gibbs

Burlington, MA

#14 Jan 28, 2010
I have yet to see any refund of taxes that have been overpaid on my condo yet. In fact, my mortgage payment went UP this year because of increased taxes!!!

Lowell, MA

#15 Jan 28, 2010
Yeah the city is screwing these people. It's unfortunate. I wish the people the best. I would look into getting a lawyer ASAP.

North Billerica, MA

#16 Jan 28, 2010
How did the original developer lay the foundation and not come across the debris and chemicals in the soil...they must've known something was abnormal about the ground at that time. Big time coverup, the guy's lucky he cashed in then died.

Maybe the city of Lowell can sell that big unused grassy hill over by Drum Hill, looks like a great scenic view for some new luxury condos!

Waltham, MA

#17 Jan 28, 2010
The City of lowell sold the land to a builder, approved the builders application to build condo's on land the city knew was once a town dump?!? I feel for these ownwers, this could have happened to anyone of us.

Ashburn, VA

#18 Jan 28, 2010
Come on people who bought in that development should have researched it before you bought it. The city should not be responsible for this.
Mike Gibbs

Boston, MA

#19 Jan 28, 2010
Pete, are you by chance a City of Lowell employee or a lawyer for the City of Lowell? Your comment offends me deeply, you clearly show a basic lack of common sense. EVERY property purchased using a loan from a bank is researched by a law firm, it's called a Title Search. So tell me Pete, have you EVER purchased any property and did you 'research' to find out if it was built on a former dump site, or for any other environmental issues? No need to answer, we both no the answer is no. Of course it's the City's fault, they owned the property and opertated it as a municipal dumpsite. They had NO business selling the property for residential construction purposes.
Mike Gibbs

Boston, MA

#20 Jan 28, 2010
Woot, you make a very good point, I have wondered this myself. Of course there is no way the developer could not have known what was buried at the site, you could not lay a foundation and not uncover this material. Unfortunately, the developer is dead. This of course does not preclude a law suit against the current owners of the development company.

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