FRAMINGHAM - Selectmen want more information about a Hollis Street house for recovering alcoholics that was home to a man with a rap sheet that includes more than 200 entries until he broke into a Winter Street home earlier this month.
Selectmen want more information about a Hollis Street house for recovering alcoholics that was home to a man with a rap sheet that includes more than 200 entries until he broke into a Winter Street home earlier this month.
Board members this week directed Town Manager Julian Suso to talk about the crime level among residents of Winthrop House at 73 Hollis St., a supportive housing facility operated by the South Middlesex Opportunity Council.
Lodging house license renewals are on an August selectmen's agenda, and the board said Tuesday night they want to know more about Winthrop Street before deciding whether to renew the license.
Paul Watson, who owns the Winter Street home broken into by James Corcoran in mid-June, told the board in an impassioned plea that they must deny the permit for Winthrop House "in the best interest of public safety."
He said officials have turned a blind eye to the nefarious activities of the home's residents for too long. Corcoran also was carrying lidocaine, a powerful pain killer, when police arrested him.
Especially egregious, he said, is allowing SMOC to allow convicts to live across the street from the Boys and Girls Club, which is scheduled to move from its Hollis Street home when Amazing Things Arts Center moves there.
"The town issues a permit and knows what kind of people live there," said Watson. "They have a responsibility to protect the community."
He said the harrowing incident, which ended with Corcoran getting arrested after speeding away when Watson's daughter and two friends came home, has led to many sleepless nights.
Watson brought his daughter with him to Tuesday night's selectmen meeting, saying she didn't want to be home alone since the break-in.
Police were asked to weigh in on all lodging houses licenses prior to the renewal hearings, said Chairman Dennis Giombetti. SMOC executive director Jim Cuddy doesn't think the license should be tied to the recent break-in.
"If this happened to me, I would be upset too, but there's no connection between this gentleman's tragedy and the siting of this facility," said Cuddy. "The address of the person this happened to could be anywhere in town.
"I'm satisfied that SMOC is running a quality facility. I don't have a concern about the siting of any of our buildings," he said.
Board members apologized to the Watsons at Tuesday night's meeting but said the situation is out of their control to some degree because the Dover Amendment does not allow for thorough local review of educational facilities.
"We are the recipient of other people's problems," said Selectman Ginger Esty. "We have to get to know the hard way."
Marcelo Lima, who owns Brazzille Restaurant at 85 Hollis St., said he had to hire a police detail recently because residents from Winthrop House were hanging out in front of his eatery asking customers for change.
He asked selectmen to help him deal with the problem.
Cuddy hasn't heard from town officials about the license renewal, but said he would be happy to discuss any concern selectmen have about Winthrop House. Framingham requires SMOC facilities to get lodging house licenses, but Cuddy said Worcester recently said such a license was not necessary.
The Winthrop House program is protected by state and federal government laws, said Cuddy.
"If we don't have a license, we can't have a lodging house," he said. "We follow the procedures of the community."
(Craig MacCormack can be reached at 508-626-4429 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)