Greenfield health officials talk illegal apartment owned by assessors chair

Staff Writer
Published: 12/1/2022 5:05:35 PM

GREENFIELD — For the second time in as many weeks, local real estate agent and Board of Assessors Chair Joe Ruggeri was a topic of discussion during city meetings, with concerns raised about management of his properties.

Health Inspector Nicole Glabach explained to members of the Board of Health Wednesday evening that she received a complaint about a leak from a tenant on the second floor of a two-family apartment building at 13 to 15 Riddell St. Upon arriving, she discovered a shower in an illegal third-floor apartment was causing the leak.

“(The third floor) is only supposed to be … for storage,” Glabach explained. “They had a tenant upstairs.”

Ruggeri, who owns the property, was issued a $300 citation on Nov. 16 for occupying a building without a certificate of occupancy, proceeding with construction without proper inspections, and beginning work without applying for and receiving a building permit. The citation indicates these were all first offenses.

When reached Thursday morning, Ruggeri said he had secured alternate housing for the third-floor tenant and submitted a permit application to remove the plumbing required to correct the situation.

According to public records, a complaint was also filed in 2016 for a tenant occupying the third floor, despite the fact the property was not zoned as a three-family residence. In a letter to building inspectors dated March 2017, Ruggeri wrote that after vacating the third-floor apartment and dismantling the kitchen sink, that floor would be used as storage space.

The credibility of Ruggeri as a member of the Board of Assessors, a group tasked with assessing the value of properties, was first aired at a City Council meeting last month, during which councilors were informed that he had recently been asked to stop work on a property at 163 Chapman St. for which he didn’t have a building permit. The topic came before councilors during approval of the fiscal year 2023 tax rate.

Ruggeri told the Recorder he had rectified the issue and was waiting to hear back from the Building Department for permission to continue work on Chapman Street. Still, those who spoke during the public comment period of the City Council meeting felt it demonstrated a lack of accountability.

“As an elected official myself, I do feel we must be held to a higher standard than the ordinary citizen,” said School Committee member Jean Wall. “Just as I would not have the right to ask for special treatment for my child in the schools, Joe does not have the right to not obey the rules governing building permits.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.


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