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Resident's zoning complaint still not settled

Date: 2/7/2011

Feb.7, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW — It's an issue that has gone unresolved since the summer of 2010.

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has yet to hear William Miller's appeal of Building Commissioner Daniel Hellyer's decision regarding the possibility of a business being run out of the residential property at 123 Pleasant St.

The appeal filed by Miller, of 20 Heatherstone Drive, on July 15, 2010, in response to Hellyer's determination that Nick's Plumbing & Heating, a business owned by Nicholas Chiusano, is not in violation of residential zoning bylaws.

According to a representative of the Town of East Longmeadow, who spoke with Reminder Publications under the condition of anonymity, Chiusano applied for a waiver of site plan, which allows for a business to run its office out of a residential address, given that office does not constitute more than 20 percent of the habitable area.

Also, only one company vehicle may be on the property and it must be shielded from public view. No employees, other than the proprietor should be on the property and no work should be done there.

According to an e-mail sent to Reminder Publications by Miller, he believes that Chiusano is running his business completely off the property, which abuts Miller's.

In addition to the house, Chiusano has erected a 60-by-70-foot garage, which was built with the proper building permit. Miller has also reported multiple trucks on the property, as well as a large, green tent. Photographs provided by Miller also show a large berm that has been erected between Miller's property and Chiusano's.

Miller and his attorney, Paul Malek of Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy, P.C., sent a letter to Hellyer on May 28, 2010, formally requesting an investigation of the property and "to take all necessary action, including the issuance of a cease and desist order pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 46A, Section 7." The letter requested that action be taken within 14 days.

On June 16, 2010, Malek contacted Helleyer via e-mail and asked him if any action had been taken, to which Hellyer replied that a letter had been sent to Chiusano requesting to inspect the property and he did not have the right to enter the property without Chiusano's approval.

In response to that correspondence, Malek filed an appeal on Miller's behalf. However, four of the seven members of the ZBA recused themselves from the issue. At least four members are needed for a quorum and therefore, the issue has not yet been heard by the ZBA.

Hellyer told Reminder Publications he has since inspected the property during the week of Jan. 23 to 29 and said that as of that time, there were no violations.

He also said Chiusano has a permit for the tent. The permit is for the purpose of vehicle storage. Hellyer said when he visited the property, there was nothing inside the tent.

Town documents show that a permit was issued to Chiusano for a tent on that property in 2009. However, Reminder Publications' source stated that the tent now on the property is new and does not have a permit.

In order to break the deadlock, the town may be forced to invoke the rule of necessity, according to the Reminder Publication's source. In such an instance, the entire ZBA would gather and the members' reasons for recusing themselves would be reviewed. The one with the weakest case for recusal would be overturned.

No such meeting has been scheduled.

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