A Bourne homeowner has been hit with a fine of $17,100 for violations of the state sanitary code—and the register is still ticking.
The Bourne Board of Health imposed the fine following what the board said was repeated failure to correct the violations.
The board assessed the fine during its meeting Wednesday June 12to Paula Hoffman, the owner of 141 Williams Avenue in Pocasset. Members said they felt that issuing the fine was the best way to impress on Ms. Hoffman that the board is serious about its demand that the violations be corrected.
The fine was calculated as $300 a day, retroactive to April 17, when an inspection was done by the health department. Health inspectors said they found water damage throughout the house, damage to the roof, and all the windows in need of replacement. In addition, a mold specialist had to be called in given the extent of the water damage.
Ms. Hoffman resides in Florida and rents out the Williams Avenue house. Health Agent Terri A. Guarino explained that her office received a complaint from the tenant living at the home. An inspection was done and orders issued to clear up the violations, she said.
A second inspection was done on June 10, she said, and the only correction made was replacement of the home’s carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, Ms. Guarino said.
Attorney Karyn A. Morris-Devine appeared before the board on behalf of Ms. Hoffman. Ms. Morris-Devine said that her client had relied on contractors to pull the proper permits and do the necessary work. She also pointed out to the board that the tenant shuts off a dehumidifier in the house, and that may have exacerbated the issues from water damage.
Board chairman Kathleen M. Peterson said that the health department has been in constant contact with Ms. Hoffman about correcting the violations.
Ms. Peterson did not accept the rationale that Ms. Hoffman ran into difficulty coordinating cleanup efforts because she lives outside the state. She recommended that all necessary permits to do the work be pulled by 9 AM on Thursday, June 13, or she would recommend fining retroactive to April 17.
Board member Galon L. (Skip) Barlow said that, because nothing has been done to date, the board should go ahead immediately with the fine. He made a motion to fine Ms. Hoffman retroactively, and that the fine continue to accrue at a rate of $300 per day until the work is completed.
Mr. Barlow said that Ms. Hoffman could appear before the board and request an adjustment to the fine.
The motion was approved unanimously.