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The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Atkinson man will remove illegal addition

From the Eagle Tribune;

October 15, 2010
Atkinson man will remove illegal addition

By Jillian Jorgensen The Eagle Tribune Fri Oct 15, 2010, 01:49 AM EDT

BRENTWOOD — An Atkinson man will tear down what town officials have said was an illegal addition to his house.

John T. Mason Jr. reached an agreement with the town in Rockingham Superior Court yesterday. As a result, he will have to remove a 10-by-25-foot addition to his 4 Rocky Point Lane home by April 30, 2011. But first, Mason will have to get a demolition permit from the town.

He also must pay the town $15,000 in fines and penalties, and $7,500 in attorney's fees, according to a decree signed by him, his lawyer, town officials and lawyers, and Rockingham Superior Court Judge John Lewis. Mason will pay $300 a month, beginning in May.

"I think it's a reasonable resolution of an issue that arose as a result of a man trying to improve his property," said William Mason, John Mason's attorney. "Perhaps the course he took was not the course that the town wanted him to take."

The dispute between the town and Mason was scheduled for a bench trial yesterday, but the parties reached an agreement instead.

The addition to the house was discovered in 2007, according to Atkinson code enforcement officer James Kirsch. The addition was equal to half the original size of Mason's home, and he needed a building permit to construct it, Kirsch said, but never applied for one.

The construction of the addition also violated other town ordinances and state laws, Kirsch said. In Atkinson, there must be at least 15 feet between the edge of a home and the edge of the property line, but the addition put the house much closer than that, Kirsch said. Because the addition brought the property closer to the shoreline of Island Pond, Mason also needed to get approval from the state Department of Environmental Services, Kirsch said.

"That's what's in the town's regulations," he said yesterday. "People have to abide by those regulations.

Mason applied for a permit in September 2007 to "rebuild existing structure." That request was rejected because it did not meet wetland zoning regulations and needed DES approval and a town zoning board variance, according to court documents. But by then, the addition was built.

A year later, a DES inspection of Mason's property found it in violation of state law. The state agency sent him a letter Dec. 2, 2008, ordering him to remove a wall for an enclosed porch. On April 28, 2009, Mason applied to the zoning board for a variance, but it was denied that July.

The town inspection office, in a letter dated July 23, 2009, demanded Mason demolish the addition. He refused.

It's unusual for a code enforcement issue to drag on for so long, Kirsch said.

"Normally, I would say, code violations get resolved before you go to court," he said.

Sumner Kalman, town counsel for Atkinson, said he didn't know why Mason didn't resolve the case before it went to court. Attorney William Mason said he couldn't speak for "the paths people take in order to get to court."

"In this particular situation, maybe it could have been resolved sooner or maybe it couldn't," William Mason said. "I don't know. I can't speak for both sides."

He said having a court date at least brought both parties into the same room so they could talk about a resolution.

"My client's position was that he would rather have it resolved sooner rather than later," Mason said. "But these things take on their own life once they're filed."

John Mason wanted to keep the addition, but had exhausted his options, his lawyer said. He said the agreement was a reasonable one to bring the house into compliance.


Anonymous said...

So this guy has to tear his down, but the Osborns are allowed to live in a house that is bigger than they permitted, and that they dont even have an occupancy permit for. So much for "equal treatment under the law"

Anonymous said...

bigger? give me a break

your not talking to your wife

Anonymous said...

He should sue the Town, if they are making him take down his addition, and if they don't make his neighbor do the same if it is not permitted.

Anonymous said...

Sue the town! Sue the town! Is that all you idiots know how to do?

About Engagement Rings said...

I like the work very much . nice done!

Anonymous said...

No big surprise that no one can stay on topic here. Discussion about the Osborne's is a few topics down.

But this is what you get when the moderator doesn't do their job.

Anonymous said...

It is about time that this issue was resolved. It could have been avoided at the beginning if the Masons had not built after they were denied their building permit. They have wasted tax payers dollars.

Now if only the town can pursue other property owners in violations the same way...say like the Osborns on Valcat Lane who still do not have an occupancy permit but are living there...with the husband living on the island separate from his family to make it look like the family is not living in the unapproved house.

Anonymous said...

FYI, the Town has been in court proceedings with the O's for months. Just ask some of your favorite blog friends how long the court process can take when attorneys keep filing motions. What would you prefer, a legal process or some vigilante to go pluck them physically from the house? As for Mason, he's already had his day in court, and he lost. Now you want him to sue the Town? Your dumbness is showing.

Anonymous said...

Thats really funny, when this blog was moderated people complained that only anti town stories got posted, now you complain that people dont stay on topic.

Maybe you should be appointed Atkinson's speech police!