LOWELL -- The city has placed a lien on a Pawtucketville property due to more than $7,300 in unpaid fines levied on the property owner due to a non-compliant greenhouse on the parcel.
The lien was placed on 1291 Varnum Ave., which is owned by Ernest Mackness, and is home to the greenhouse that looks like an airplane hangar.
City officials ordered the property owner to take action concerning the structure after receiving news last spring that Mackness lost his appeal of the Zoning Board of Appeal's denial of a variance for the greenhouse.
The city has said the greenhouse must be removed or altered to comply with the city's zoning ordinance.
The city is able to fine the property owner up to $300 per violation, with each day constituting a separate violation.
With the lien for $7,350 in place, the amount would have to be paid to the city if the property were sold.
Development Services has decided to issue weekly fines for ongoing violations such as the greenhouse's non-compliance, according to a memo Acting Planning and Development Director Diane Tradd wrote that was provided to the City Council.
The memo was a response to City Councilor Dan Rourke's request for an update on the violations at 1291 Varnum Ave.
Fines were first levied by the city last June.
The city would need a court order to enter the property and remove the greenhouse. Tradd wrote in her memo the city has no plans to do that.
"Given the nature of these violations, specifically the fact that the issues with the greenhouse are not public-health or safety issues, it has been the policy of Development Services to refrain from requesting court intervention," Tradd wrote. "Rather, in this situation and in similar situations, it is our policy to continue fining the property owner to compel compliance."
The greenhouse is higher than the height allowed and too close to the property line.
Mackness declined to comment Monday while exiting his home. A business card for a city building inspector remains outside Mackness' front door.
Tradd did write that an attorney for Mackness recently reached out to Development Services about the greenhouse, and the city was informed the owner would like to start the process of pulling permits to reconstruct the greenhouse and bring it into compliance.
"Until such time as the work is begun to remedy the issues at the property, there remains an ongoing violation," Tradd wrote.
Rourke said he would like to see the city put the unpaid fines on the property owner's tax bill in hopes of spurring action so the non-compliant greenhouse is addressed.
"I want this issue taken care of," Rourke said.
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