Sutter represents fighting spirit of Perkins residents


Ralph Sutter embodies the never give up spirit of the residents of the Perkins loft buildings. While he hasn’t convinced me totally that Ma General Law Chap 79A applies he certainly shows his passion and fight. While I feel badly for the residents and appreciate their anger and the love they have shown for the city, I also understand UMass Lowell’s desire to expand and still think the university is doing all it can for the residents who are being forced out.

Ralph is a great spokesman for the Perkins residents and he hasn’t said if they have hired Legal council to assist them, I wish them luck in receiving all that is legally due them and hope they find another residence in Lowell and are able to stay in the city. Lowell needs passionate people like Ralph staying involved.

Here are Ralph’s replies to my post about Mass Law Chap. 79a not in my view applicable.

It seems as though UMass thinks differently about this transaction not falling under 79A, as does the Dept. of Housing’s Relocation Bureau. 79A does not just pertain to acquisitions via eminent domain, it simply has an added section for public entities that utilize eminent domain to acquire a property.
Per Section 1. The following terms as used in this chapter shall, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, have the following meanings:

”Acquisition”, the taking of real property by eminent domain, negotiated sale, or other means, by or for any public agency, or by any person or agency authorized to take by eminent domain, or by a corporation established under the provisions of chapter one hundred and twenty-one A……

Per Section 2. No acquisition, rehabilitation, demolition, or other improvement which shall involve the displacement of occupants of dwelling units or business units shall be made unless and until the bureau has qualified a relocation advisory agency to give relocation assistance to the occupants to be displaced. Any agency, public or private, may be qualified by the bureau to act as a relocation agency until such time as the bureau may, on stated grounds, withdraw qualifications; or the bureau may qualify any agency, public or private, proposed by a displacing agency to act as a relocation agency with respect to particular acquisitions. The bureau may qualify a displacing agency to act as the relocation agency with respect to particular acquisitions.

Per Section 3. Any public agency, or any person authorized to take by eminent domain, including corporations established under the provisions of chapter one hundred and twenty-one A, shall provide relocation assistance and payments under this act upon undertaking a project which results in displacement of occupants by the acquisition of real property or by the issuing of a written order to vacate for purposes of rehabilitation, demolition, or other improvement.
In other words, Section 3 is only there to make sure that public entities that use public domain to acquire buildings ALSO need to abide to Chapter 79A. Any individual, corporation, agency or public entity needs to abide to 79A.

27.06: Relocation Payments to Displaced Residents

(1) Payments for Actual Reasonable Moving and Related Expenses: Legal occupants displaced from residences are entitled to payment of actual moving expenses. These expenses shall be determined in the manner prescribed by federal regulations appearing at 49 CFR 24.301 and 24.302, (as amended and as they may be amended), and guidelines issued by the Bureau. A claim for a payment for actual moving expenses from a dwelling shall be supported by a receipted bill or other reliable written documentation of expenses incurred. Pursuant to an advance written request, the agency may at its discretion pay the mover directly. A displaced person who moves temporarily may claim payment for actual moving expenses at the time of the temporary move.

(2) Multiple Occupants of One Dwelling Unit. If two or more displaced legal occupants of a housing unit move to separate replacement dwellings, each legal occupant is entitled to a reasonable prorated share, as determined by the relocation advisory agency, of the relocation payment which would have been made if the occupants had moved together to a comparable replacement dwelling, provided that if two or more occupants legally maintained separate households within the same dwelling, each separate household is entitled to separate relocation payments.

(3) Replacement Housing Payments. If they qualify, displaced homeowners and tenants shall be

eligible for additional payments for costs relative to obtaining replacement housing. These

payments shall be determined in the Manner prescribed by federal regulations at 49 CFR 24.401,

24.402, 24.403, and 24.404 (as amended and as they may be amended).
In short, UMass is most certainly responsible…and is currently falling short with their relocation packages. Especially when you look at the last federal regulations.

So you may wish to retract the title of your last post (respectfully) as Chapter 79A (I never mentioned 79) definitely does pertain to UMass in this particular situation.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 79A requires that assistance and benefits be provided to displaced residents and businesses as a result of a real estate acquisition by a public or private entity (collectively, Displacing Entities) using public funds in a project.


Published by Lowell School Committeeman Gerry Nutter

I've been interested in Schools since I worked at the Greater Lowell Tech and substitute taught in Dracut. I've followed the finances and issues with the Lowell School for the past 8 years while blogging and contributing to Saturday Morning Live! Currently serving my 1st term.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the article, Gerry. Again, no one in our building is against UMass. Ultimately we are hoping to just end up in a place that invokes the same sense of community and has the same overall appeal that Perkins has. Which, to be fair, is going to be hard to find within Lowell. I’ve said it several times during interviews but I really think that the Perkins community was/is somewhat of a parade horse in terms of what Lowell’s residential complexes can be. It is a shame to see it go.

    It really is an unfortunate event. If there is one thing we can hopefully agree on, it’s that there was very much a lack of transparency. I know you have stated in prior articles that you think people were aware, but I can assure you that no one in Perkins knew until June 3rd.

    Ultimately I hope, for the sake of Lowell’s residents, that a sale of this magnitude resulting in hundreds of displaced families never occurs again. Or that, at the very least, the residents of a complex will get a first say or first offer to purchase in a large scale buy-out.

    Thank you again for being willing to listen.

Leave a comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: