PLYMPTON– According to documents obtained from the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds and Plympton officials, the sale of the vacant property at 59 Parsonage Road from the USDA to Richmond Poole is being held up due to an almost two years-old order placed by the Board of Health on the title to the property.
In September, 2014, Health Agent Cathy Drinan ordered the USDA Farm Service Agency, a federal lending agency which through default proceedings became the owner of the property, to take certain corrective actions to improve the safety of the property following a barn fire that occurred around that time.
After that fire, the house and surrounding land, including trailers with indications of illegal septic hook-ups were so unsafe that even fire personnel were ordered not to enter, according to documents.
The letter in part stated: “The house and trailers are all uninhabitable. The house doors are open, its chimneys are crumbling, the floors are collapsing, the roof and ceiling are collapsing in the kitchen, the ceilings in other rooms are collapsing, and mold is on all the surfaces…The trailers are in the same condition, if not worse. Animals are using the trailers, evidenced by large amounts [of] animal scat. There are also narrow animal paths through the high vegetation to all the trailers and some burrows in the ground…The trailers have evidence of illegal septic systems, determined by the pipes going into the ground from under the trailers…The open unsafe house and trailers pose serious safety threats and are examples of an attractive nuisance to children. This applies to the burned barn also, that has a lower level that is now barely visible between and under the burned beans. There is a deep hole under those beams.”
Drinan laid out corrective actions that needed to be taken immediately, but were never taken, according to Art Morin, chairman of the Board of Health. The USDA, he says, does not have a good history of working with local officials.
The USDA, which successfully auctioned off the house to Plympton resident Richmond Poole, still cannot close on the property because the Board’s letter constitutes a “cloud” on the title according to a letter from Poole’s attorney to the BOH even though Morin states that the USDA incorrectly advertised the property as having a clear title.
Poole is claiming that he cannot continue work on the property, although his attorney says he has completed six of the eight corrective actions the Board ordered, without a “memorandum of understanding” among himself and the other parties, in which the USDA allows him to continue to work on the property by putting money in escrow, and when completed, the BOH will lift the letter on the title and Poole’s lender can disburse money to him to close on the property.
Notably, from the road, trailers are still visible on the property. Poole claims he has not been authorized by the USDA to remove the trailers from the property until he closes, nor does he have the funding to take the trailers off before he closes.
According to Drinan, and documents obtained from Plympton Health officials, the Board is currently working with Poole and his attorney for draft language of such a memorandum of understanding for consideration. He is also seeking a re-inspection of the property by Drinan, at his own expense, to ensure that everything that needs to be taken care of from the Board of Health’s point-of-view has in fact been taken care of.