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Milton officials debate whether renovations to Joyce’s home were permitted

The home of state Senator Brian A. Joyce in Milton.
The home of state Senator Brian A. Joyce in Milton.(JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF)

MILTON — The developer of state Senator Brian Joyce’s house pulled the necessary permits for extensive renovations to the Milton home before he sold it to him in 2003, the town administrator said Tuesday in a report to the local Board of Selectmen.

Town records show that Joyce and the developer, Norfolk Development, received “necessary permits or approvals’’ for renovations, said Town Administrator Annemarie Fagan.

Last month, the Globe reported that Joyce, who decided not to run for reelection amid a federal corruption investigation, quietly put the house on the market for $1.725 million. The Coldwell Banker marketing brochure, distributed to top brokers in the town, describes a home that will “leave you breathless,” with 6,444 square feet of living space, six bedrooms, and 5½ bathrooms on four floors.

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Town assessing records, however, show a house with 3,854 square feet, eight rooms, five bedrooms, and 4½ bathrooms on two floors.

Joyce has said he obtained the necessary town authorization, saying a 2002 permit covered the renovations described in the brochure marketing his house.

Fagan noted that the 2002 permit was “very broad and clearly applied to interior and exterior work.”

William Bennett, a member of the town’s Board of Assessors, said many of the improvements shown in the material, which is circulating privately among local real estate brokers, were probably done more recently.

The only way assessors can know for sure, he said, is to see the renovations firsthand. So far, Joyce has not agreed to let assessors in, he said.

“There’s no way for us to determine if the work was done under those permits or after those permits — unless we’re allowed in the house to get an understanding of when this work was done,” Bennett said in an interview. “The permits we’ve seen don’t talk about the renovations that are in question — the kitchen, the bathrooms, the finished basement, additional finished rooms in the attic and the office over the garage.”

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Fagan did not say whether Joyce’s house is properly valued at $867,000, leaving that determination to the assessors, who said they are updating their records based on the information in the sales brochure.

A new assessment will be issued in December, Bennett said.

Board members commented only briefly on Fagan’s report, and did not say whether they believe the home is properly assessed.

“It’s so difficult to know exactly what was done [on the house] almost 15 years ago,” said Selectman Thomas Hurley.

Selectman David Burnes declined to comment outside the meeting hall when asked if he felt the home was properly assessed.

He said that while Joyce is under no obligation to allow assessors inside the home, “if I have nothing to hide, then why wouldn’t I? I’d open it up.”

The 2002 permit, which listed the estimated cost of all the work at $110,000, mentioned these specific projects: “to install new HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. Also to insulate the walls, re-side part of the house, driveway, plastering, and painting. New roof installed. New sewer and water lines.”

The real estate brochure by Coldwell Banker states: “Extensive renovations began in 2003 to add every modern amenity while maintaining its abundant historic character.” It mentions a “chef’s dream kitchen” and “architecturally designed home office wing.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Andrea Estes can be reached at andrea.estes@globe.com.

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