For the time being, the tenants at 22 Lebanon St. can rest easy, as the city has stalled plans expressed by MysticValley Regional Charter School (MVRCS) requiring residents to move out of the building by the end of the year.
Attorney George Warren, chairman of the MVRCS Board of Trustees, said he was contacted by Councillor-at-Large Craig Spadafora, who asked that the board “put a pause on the evictions.”
“Reasonable people will come up with a reasonable resolution,” said Warren. “Thanks to Councillor Spadafora, we nipped this one in the bud and we’re going to work it out.”
While there are no definitive plans for the property, Warren said tenants will need to move out after January 1, 2022.“We’re not in the business of being landlords,” he said, adding that the board will assist tenants with finding new housing.
The property at 22 Lebanon St., which houses four residential units, was one of three parcels purchased by MVRCS on July 22. Following the sale, the tenants were told that although they needed to move out, they had until April 2023 to do so. However, that all changed when the residents received a letter from Attorney Thomas Brennan, counsel for MVRCS. With the holiday season just weeks away, the November 10 letter stated that residential tenants only had until the end of December to move out. Although there are also commercial units in the building, Brennan’s letter was only sent to the residents.
Once he was informed of the situation, Spadafora contacted Warren to ask that residents have until after the first of the year to move out. “My request was very pointed, very direct,” said Spadafora. “It’s tough to find affordable housing around here during the holidays.”
However, Spadafora said the City Council could not force the board to completely reverse its decision. “I don’t expect them to change their course in the long-term,” he said.
Six hours after their initial conversation, Warren told Spadafora that he and the board would hold off on any evictions until 2022.
Warren said he was very appreciative of Spadafora reaching out; in fact, it is unfortunate Mystic Valley had to step up the notices to quit for tenants due to Councillors Stephen Winslow’s and David Camel’s actions taken over the summer and recently toward Mystic Valley, without regard to the impact such actions might have on their constituents who are current tenants at the purchased properties.
While it is possible, Spadafora said, he does not expect any foul play going forward. “I would find it insulting if they went back on their word,” he said. “I don’t think they will.”