Town won't delay closing building that's ruled unsafe

WILTON – Selectmen have decided not to postpone the closure of an apartment building that the health inspector deems unsafe. As a result, tenants have until Nov. 3 to find a new place to live unless the landlord meets the health inspector’s requirements.

In early October, Rise Smythe-Freed, the town health inspector, issued an order to vacate the building at 30 Forest Road because the landlord, Paul Schaefer, of Colby Street Realty in Brookline, has not fixed serious problems with the building. Those problems include defective plumbing, dangerous wiring, structurally deficient railings, malfunctioning windows, trash in common areas, mold and leaky walls and roof.

About two weeks ago, tenants from the apartment asked selectmen if they could get an extension on the deadline. Schaefer has estimated about 16 people live in the building. At their Oct. 6 meeting, selectmen deferred the issue until Monday’s meeting, when they decided not to extend the deadline.

“The tenants’ complaints are legitimate, and the building should be closed,” said Selectman Bill Condra, who had served previously as the town building inspector.

Selectmen Dick Rockwood and Dan Donovan agreed that the building would close unless the building inspector and the health officer declare it habitable.

“This is the only way to get the owner’s attention,” Rockwood said.

The town will provide whatever assistance is available to help the tenants relocate, selectmen said. It was noted that several tenants have already moved out.

On Tuesday, Smythe-Freed said Schaefer has not asked her to re-inspect the building.