Officials condemn two Taftville apartment buildings, displacing 43 tenants

Norwich – More than 40 residents of two six-family apartment buildings in Taftville were displaced last week after city building officials found numerous structural, electrical, health and safety violations during an inspection.

The two adjacent buildings at 458-468 Norwich Ave. and 470-480 Norwich Ave. are owned by Richmond Properties LLC of Richmond Hill, N.Y.

City Human Services Department officials are working with nine of the potentially 10 families displaced in the Thursday condemnations, including 22 adults and 21 children. One apartment was occupied by two families living together, with a total of three adults and eight children.

“That’s a hard one,” city Human Services Director Lee Ann Gomes said of the effort to find housing for the displaced families. Several families with children have been placed in a local hotel for the short-term, Gomes said, while others are staying with family or friends.

The city will place relocation liens on the properties to recoup the cost of assisting residents to find new homes, and Gomes said the total will be nearly $50,000 combined for the two buildings.

Gomes is seeking assistance from local landlords, especially those who have large apartments with four or five bedrooms available. Gomes can be reached at (860) 823-3778.

In addition, the condemned buildings housed at least 12 dogs and an uncounted number of cats, Gomes said.

City Assistant Building Official Greg Arpin said inspectors have been having issues with both buildings “for years.” Arpin had given the owners time to make electrical repairs and was there to reinspect the buildings when he ordered the condemnation at the recommendation of the licensed electrician hired to make the corrections.

Arpin also discovered that two natural gas furnaces in the 458-468 Norwich Ave. building were venting directly into the basement, due to rusted piping. The buildings have similar structures, and in each building, most of the center support girders have failed, causing structural deficiencies. In one apartment, Arpin said, “you could walk in a guy’s living room and the TV would wobble so much you’d think it was going to fall on the floor.”

Arpin said a lot of electrical work was done without permits, and the power capacity of both buildings was not strong enough to support the new loads of electric heat and appliances. Residents frequently had to go outside to reset electric breakers that had tripped due to overuse, Arpin said.

Arpin said the licensed electrician hired recently to make the repairs told Arpin: “To me, this place should not have power.”

The power has been shut off to both buildings.


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