AYER -- The owner of one property deemed a nuisance by selectmen has 45 days to remove a metal building and cease alleged business use on the site.
Mark Velardi's land at 71 Sandy Pond Road is one of several parcels targeted by the board, including Hugh Ernisse's two properties at 14 Williams St. and 128 Washington St.
The town has taken up a number of issues with Velardi's property, according to documents obtained from the town administrator's office. These include the allegation that Velardi is running a trucking business from his home, which would require a special permit.
The town also claims that a metal building in Velardi's yard requires a building permit, and that his land has "become littered with excessive amounts of rubbish, junk and debris," according to the complaint document.
The complaint also cites the metal building and another container as violations of the town's zoning bylaws because they are "accessory structures" in Velardi's front yard.
The town claims that Velardi has not responded to any of its orders to either apply for a building permit or remove the metal building, remove the other container, clean up his property and cease his alleged business.
After appearing in Middlesex Superior Court last week, Velardi was ordered to either obtain a permit for the metal building or remove it from his front yard within 45 days, according to the preliminary injunction filed in the court clerk's office. He was also ordered to remove the container from his yard and cease any trucking business unless he receives a special permit.
Velardi said the hearing was an injustice, and argued that he was convicted at a hearing -- not a trial.
Velardi said he presented a document signed by about 10 of his neighbors that stated they had no complaints about his property.
"The judge didn't even want to hear anything I had to say," Velardi said.
Former selectman Frank Maxant, who has stood by Velardi, said statements in the complaint that argue that conditions on Velardi's property constitute a nuisance are false, because the property conditions "include none of the elements of a nuisance."
Maxant explained that Velardi's situation is just one of several in which the town "manipulates the system to manufacture from thin air the opportunity to prosecute." The process, he explained, is to send the target an enforcement letter that contains misrepresentations of the law.
"After 30 days of no response from the target, the courts will presume the 'enforcement letter' to be valid on its face," Maxant said. "Now, the bogus 'enforcement letter,' presumed valid by convention, becomes grounds for action in the courts. This is how we got here today."
The court also heard from Ernisse, who said the hearing went well. The town was after Ernisse over alleged violations of state sanitary code and town bylaws, and claimed that he had failed to follow orders to clean up his properties, according to court documents.
Building Inspector Gabriel Vellante took pictures that showed improvement, Ernisse said.
The court will revisit the issue on May 28, but Ernisse said by that time it won't be necessary.
"My yard will all be done, it's going to be nicer," he said, adding that further clean up will be done during April.
"I've got a huge Dumpster at the Williams Street house," he said. "You don't have a $600 Dumpster in your yard if you don't intend to do something."
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