HANSON — JJ’s Pub owner Patricia Harrison has been given five days to put up secure fencing around the site, 15 days to take out a demolition permit, which will include an environmental study to look for hazardous materials, and 45 days for the debris to be cleaned up to the satisfaction of the building inspector.
On Tuesday, Oct. 30, Hanson selectmen held a hearing pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 139, § 1, to determine if the debris from the burned-down JJ’s Pub at 16 Liberty Street constituted nuisance demolition debris.
Harrison, was represented at the hearing by her lawyer, Jack Atwood, and accompanied by her boyfriend, Wayne Cummings. Harrison and Cummings are under indictment along with a friend, Alfred Russo, in Plymouth Superior Court for the suspected arson fire of JJ’s.
“I’ve had so many freak accidents here…I just want to get out,” said Harrison, who indicated that she feels she is being treated fairly by the town, in an interview after the meeting. “It [JJ’s] was my 10th birthday present. I’m heartbroken.”
Town counsel, the building inspector, and both the police and fire chiefs were available to testify, although only town counsel and the building inspector did.
Atwood, Harrison’s Plymouth-based defense attorney, said that Harrison is waiting on insurance money to remove debris from the property, but because of the indictments, the insurance company won’t pay for the cleanup. Curran believes the total cost for removal will be in the realm of $16,000. Atwood also mentioned that Harrison has a buyer and a purchase and sales agreement for the property, which did not hold much weight with the board.
Kate Feodoroff, Hanson Town Counsel, had prepared a statement from the board to Harrison, and described to the board how to proceed with the hearing. She encouraged them to describe their observations and feelings about the site and said she wanted to encourage Harrison to clean up the site, so that public funds wouldn’t be expended on the removal. But, she said, the town could act to clean up the site if Harrison does not and put a lien on the property to recoup the cost.
The board did find that the building on the property was demolished after the fire, but the debris was never removed. Photos of the site were presented to the board by the building inspector, Robert Curran, who also spoke of his efforts to work with Harrison to clean up the site.
The board found as well that the property was not secured and was an “attractive nuisance,” especially to children, to which Atwood said everyone agreed. “There is substantial risk of injury or death to inhabitants, trespassers or emergency personnel who may enter the property,” the document states.
“It’s a blessing that no one’s gotten hurt,” said Selectman Clerk Matthew Dyer. “People all want a piece of JJ’s pub.”
The board also found the property to be a general nuisance and eyesore. “The complaints are non-stop,” said Selectman Wesley Blauss.
Although the board discussed several different approaches to the removal, they all agreed on one thing: they were done acting in good faith with Harrison, who had been asked to clean up the property several times.
“I can appreciate there’s other stuff going on,” said Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett. “I have constituents who are sick of looking at it,” she added.