Upset homeowner and Erie County bring zombie property back to life

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BOSTON, N.Y. (WIVB)– Homeowner Dale Bacchetti was fed up with the high grass that was giving cover to rodents at the dilapidated property across the street in the Town of Boston.

” I have a one-year-old grandson and we are afraid to leave him outside with the rodents and mice. They are coming on our property, and scattering around the property,” Bacchetti said.

The house had been abandoned for years when Dale’s call for help brought in the Erie County Clerk Mickey Kerns “Zombies Initiative.”

“Collapsing roof, neighbors complaining, the grass was very, very high. There was concern about rodents,” Kerns said.

The home, on West Hill Road in Boston, went into foreclosure after the owner died but Kearns and local officials say the bank did nothing with it.

So the “Zombies Initiative” put the heat on the bank, and now, you might call it an extreme makeover–for the whole neighborhood.

“Turned this around to something that goes back on the tax rolls, provides a home for somebody in the community, and raises the value of all the surrounding properties in the neighborhood,” said Jason Keding, Boston Town Supervisor.

Investor Terry Montroy is co-owner of the former zombie.. now a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch that was completely gutted and rebuilt by his business partner.

” We re-did the garage, re-did the floors, had a problem with the foundation, and put brand new floors, brand new kitchen in this whole place.”

The Western New York Law Center provides the legal torch that puts heat on the banks whose neglect leads to zombies.

“If they do not maintain the properties they can be held accountable for up to $500 per day that the property is not in compliance,” said Jordan Zeranti.

Villages and towns generally lack the resources to hold mortgage servicers accountable, but Erie County’s “Zombies Initiative” can get the job done. To report a zombie property in your neighborhood, click here.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.

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