Hudson - Litchfield News 2 - April 29, 2011
12 Hartson Circle: Spending Your Tax Dollars Without Your Consent by Doug Robinson
Multiple brightly colored, very expandable files fill a record-keeping file drawer of Hudson’s Town Zoning Code Violations, including discussions, failure to meet deadlines, certified letters, and memos regarding the ongoing issues of 12 Hartson Circle. Hudson town officials have certainly dotted their Is and crossed their Ts, as they have
Stockade fences cannot hide the large crane towering into the sky from the property of 12 Hartson Circle
carefully recorded every action, phone call, letter, or communication taken by the Town of Hudson and the corresponding responses recorded by homeowners Michael and Victoria Lashua of 12
Hartson Circle, in an effort to bring the property into compliance with Hudson Town Code. Unfortunately, the residents and taxpayers of Hudson have footed the labor bill and now will be footing the legal bill. Neighbors have had to deal with the ugly site of a huge, yellow crane, a two-story garage which has yet to be completed, the encroachment of that garage onto their property line set-back, excessive and unsightly junk cars, and a second driveway constructed and crossing over their property. Since January 2009, town officials have been attempting to work with homeowners to resolve these issues; however, most timelines have either been ignored or not honored. While the garage has been cut back four feet to be compliant with the 15-foot set-back regulation, grass and plantings have replaced the makeshift driveway created on the neighbor’s property, and several junk cars have been removed, neighbors are still faced with the unsightly appearance of an unfinished garage, the ongoing construction noise of construction equipment, and the very large, yellow crane. The property resides in a residential area, and is not zoned for commercial equipment. The crane was being used to set the metal, structural beams to form the new garage. However, the building permit for the garage had been rescinded because the placement and setting of the garage encroached onto the neighbor’s property. As a result of this building permit cancellation, the crane was to be removed months ago. Only a six-foot stockade fence separates the
two properties; however, when sitting on the eight foot-high patio deck of 14 Hartson Circle, the view of the crane and garage are very imminent. Town officials first visited 12 Hartson Circle in 2009, and since then, over a dozen additional site visits have occurred. In addition, four
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certified letters have been sent to the homeowners explaining the town’s position. As the Lashuas have not fulfilled their personally written obligation, the town had no alternative but to contact town attorneys to resolve the ongoing issues. “This case has involved hundreds of hours of the Community Development’s time and resources,” commented Hudson’s Assistant Town Administrator Mark Pearson. The initial meeting involved “auto activity,”
while future phone calls and visits involved “rescinding a permit,” “garage encroachment,” “couple new vehicles,” “inspection of building,” “land use citation,” and review of the “status of compliance agreement made deadline is 3/15/2011.”
In a written agreement, drafted on January 5 between the town and Michael Lashua, the crane was to be removed by March 15. In a letter handwritten by Michael Lashua on March 21, he requested that they be allowed for an “extension to keep crane on site to finish steel building erecting. I feel I would be done with crane by 5/20/11, or sooner.” However, during a visit conducted by town officials on March 7, Hudson’s Code Enforcement Violation Detail sheet states that, “foundation has been cut back, building frame has been cut back and will be secured, crane’s engine is blown, and he needs the crane to complete the structure.” The blown engine to which he is referring is the engine that has the ability to drive the crane. The crane also has a second motor, which enables the crane to operate lifting functions. The Town of Hudson, on March 18, sent a certified letter to Mr. Lashua, stating, “We met on Monday, March 14, 2011, to discuss the progress of the building on site and the crane removal. You had agreed on January 5, 2011, that you
Te large, yellow crane rests only a few feet away from the property directly next door to 12 Hartson Circle
would need two months to finish the building, and remove the crane. This has not been done. I asked you on March 14, 2011, to submit to me a new timetable for completion by Tuesday, March 15, 2011. You have not done this.” The certified letter continued to state, “I [Hudson Zoning Administrator William Oleksak] have been instructed by my Superiors and Selectmen to proceed with legal action. This case will be turned over to Town Council for legal action.”
After the certified letter was sent to the homeowner, Oleksak stated that he had been advised by town attorneys that the town should continue to work with the homeowner to correct the issues, as it would take two months for this complaint to come before a judge.
This One’s For the Birds
submitted by Kathleen Christopher If you stepped through the doors of the Hudson Community Center last Wednesday evening, the smell of wood stain would have assailed your nose as your eyes beheld a most unusual sight: birdhouses. Many, many birdhouses constructed of wood were receiving the finishing touches at the hands of Cub Scouts from Hudson’s Pack 20, Den 2.
The Community Center is usually reserved
for Boy Scout Troop 20 on Wednesdays, but on April 20, Troop 20 hosted Den 2 in a mentoring project that involved the construction of birdhouses. Troop 20’s Assistant Scoutmaster Paul Hamilton called the project “exciting … hopefully we’re looking at future Boy Scouts.” With some assistance and suggestions
from the older boys, the Cub Scouts put the finishing touches on their birdhouses. “I’m going to hang it in the tree on my front lawn and wait for birds,” said Cub Scout David. Boy Scout
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by Lynne Ober Despite a very rainy Saturday, Hudson’s Rabies Clinic was a success. Sponsored by Hudson and supported by Alvirne High School Vet-Tech program students, the clinic offered an opportunity for animal owners to get rabies shots and register their pets. Dr. Albert Conti of the Hudson Animal Hospital was on hand to expertly administer the vaccine. Dr. Conti said that there had been a steady stream of pets and owners despite the rain that, at times, was very heavy. The doors of the Animal Control Facility were open. Owners and pets could wait inside for their turn. Town Clerk Patti Barry was also in attendance. “We are doing this the old-fashioned way,” she smiled. She and her staff had only paper and pencil for pet registrations. “Usually, we have laptops, but with the virus that hit all the town’s computers, we are back to paper.” For Barry’s staff, this means that someone will have to enter the registrations into the computer system once the virus is cleaned and computers can again be used. The clinic was held from 9 a.m. until noon. Proceeds from the event are used by the Hudson Juniors to fund community efforts.
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