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Saugus Town Meeting 2024

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Members approve a committee to study the feasibility of registering and inspecting apartments


By Mark E. Vogler


Precinct 2 Town Meeting Member Peter A. Rossetti, Jr. recalls that a former building inspector once estimated “more than 5,000 illegal units around town.” If they are illegal, they are probably not being inspected for health and safety code violations.

Precinct 10 Town Meeting Member Peter Manoogian authored an article for this year’s Annual Town Meeting to create a committee to investigate the feasibility of registering and inspecting apartments within the town. Town Meeting members voted overwhelmingly at Monday night’s Session 2 in support of the measure, which would examine the process used by at least two other nearby communities to register and inspect apartments. The committee would produce a report by the 2025 Annual Town Meeting that may include a bylaw proposal that would identify procedures, costs associated with a registration/inspection process and recommendations for implementation. Study of the issue would be conducted by a committee made up of three Town Meeting members, a selectman appointed by the chair of the Board of Selectmen and the town manager or his designee.

Saugus Fire Chief Michael C. Newbury said he likes the idea of inspecting apartments upon the renewal of leases. “This is a common practice in many communities around the Metro Boston area,” Chief Newbury said in a statement to Manoogian that was distributed at Monday’s meeting.

“It has been something that has been discussed by our fire prevention team for some time,” the chief said.

“I hope Town Meeting votes to support Article 24 and establish a committee to study this topic. If Article 24 passes, I will gladly obtain the best practices from the fire prevention divisions throughout the area and share them forthwith. I believe that inspecting apartments upon a transfer of a lease would be an appropriate measure to ensure proper life safety codes and standards are met at the beginning of each new lease.”

Manoogian noted that several communities have regulations that require a certificate of fitness every time an apartment is leased out. “We’ve talked a lot about a West Side Fire station. This is a public health and safety issue,” he said.

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