MILLBURY (CBS) – Some people in a Millbury neighborhood are upset because a neighbor was placed on house arrest, even though his house is condemned.
That means he’s living in a van in the driveway. And the town is trying to avoid getting stuck with the bill.
“I got a new house right here,” says Chris Bernard gesturing towards his van. He also has a GPS tracker around his ankle because two weeks ago a judge ordered house arrest for him due to a probation violation.
But his house is boarded up and condemned. He can’t even go inside. Photos taken by the Millbury Board of Health show a filthy, bug infested, garbage strewn home with pet waste everywhere.
So Bernard is living in his van in front of the house. “It’s not bad. I got a heater, coffee maker, a cot,” he says. But no bathroom facilities.
“My concern is the neighborhood,” says Millbury’s interim Town Manager Bernie Plante. He doesn’t like Bernard living in the van, but says the town can’t do anything because of the judge’s order, an order he doesn’t understand. “I thought it was strange, to be quite honest with you, because I think the court knew the house had been condemned,” Plante says.
He’s also concerned about the town losing money. “Like back taxes, boarding up the house, I know the utilities haven’t been paid,” he says.
Plante estimates that about $20,000 in back taxes is owed on the property. The house is located in a neat, well cared for neighborhood on Dorothy Pond.
Some neighbors are not happy. “Everything you see there we’ve been putting up with for years upon years,” says Cindy Bunnewith who lives down the street from the condemned house.
The property is for sale and Monday WBZ learned it’s under agreement with a hoped for closing date at the beginning of next month. Bernard says he’ll have to find another place to live if the court lets him.
WBZ asked a spokesperson for the court system about this situation, but she wouldn’t comment because it’s an open case.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports