Gilmores issued deadlines to clean up property

  • The property at 72 Mill Village Road, as seen in 2013 image from town records. Contributed Photo/Town of Deerfield

For the Bulletin
Saturday, April 22, 2017

DEERFIELD — The Board of Health has brought in some added muscle — the state — in its effort to see the Mill Village property owned by Mark E. and Veronica L. Gilmore cleaned up.

The state is “in communication with the Board of Health,” said Catherine Skiba, regional spokeswoman for MassDEP, noting, “the Board of Health is the lead agency.”

“(MassDEP) is monitoring this,” Special Health Agent Charles Kaniecki said at a recent board meeting. “They’re entertaining the idea of pursuing this legally — they’re just waiting to see if there’s cooperation here to get this resolved. And their fines are $25,000 a day.”

“I was very disappointed we had to revisit this,” Board of Health Chairwoman Carolyn Shores Ness said during a public hearing held March 22 at the request of Mark Gilmore, who formerly served as a selectman for nearly two decades. “It’s very clear, and it’s in writing. Hopefully, this will be resolved soon.”

For roughly three years, the town and Gilmores have been going back and forth about what’s been happening on the property following complaints from neighbors. This included finding “noisome trade and business violations,” the Board of Health’s directive notes.

Then following an inspection by Kaniecki on Feb. 10, the Board of Health issued a final order signed by all three members directing Gilmore to clean up discrepancies by specific dates or be subject to fines between $10 and $500 per item for each following day of noncompliance. Deadlines range from April to August depending on the item.

Kaniecki outlined seven code violations based upon his inspection. Among them, a failing septic system, large pieces of concrete buried beneath a roadway, oil stored in drums, a shed with a collapsed roof, heavy equipment storage and an uncovered dumpster in the back.

Also, “inspection revealed the shop was being used for commercial repairs of large equipment, replacement of engines,” and other activities the property’s residential zoning doesn’t allow, the directive continues. In addition, the property doesn’t have a “noisome trade permit” and hasn’t received Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) review — required for those operations.

Although the health board wants this work done, the members remain willing to work with Gilmore, to bring the property into compliance with town and state regulations.

“I sympathize with the situation,” said Selectman Henry “Kip” Komosa at the meeting, before the board agreed to extend a few deadlines.

To become compliant, the directive outlines replacing the septic system (Kaniecki noted a permit has been issued for that purpose), removing or breaking up buried concrete into small pieces, covering the dumpster, and removing the shed, large equipment, and oil containers.

The board said equipment necessary to replace the septic system could remain on the property until work is completed, and suspended a $5,000 administrative fine at the request of Mark Gilmore, pending compliance.

“I’m not made of money. I don’t do this as a business. This is stuff I am taking on by myself,” Mark Gilmore said about the discrepancies, noting years of public service and donations given to the town. “I don’t have the funds available — a lot of this is going to have to come through banking.”