Thursday, March 15, 2012

Careful What You Wish For

 28 Shays Street, Amherst

It will be interesting to see how neighbors here in South Amherst react to the request coming before the Zoning Board of Appeals to expand a house the former owner referred to as a "shack" from one family (four occupants max) all the way to three family (dozen occupants).

Dave Keenan purchased the humble abode at 28 Shays Street in 1994 for $2,500 but with back taxes owed($8,000)  to the town and DEP ordered clean up (backed by $30,000 in fines) required because of a leaky oil storage tank.  Dave never did add much in the way of window dressing, so neighbors were constantly complaining to the town about the general ramshackle appearance.

Finally with back taxes and legal fees owed topping $60,000 the town tried to foreclose and have building inspectors check out whether the house was even habitable.  Mr Keenan telegraphed that he would not allow entry without a fight and a Ruby Ridge was narrowly avoided.

Keenan came up with the money owed to the town via a friend, Eric Burt, who must have been savvy enough to have the house held as collateral.  Keenan never paid him back, and as a result lost the house.  Last September Mr. Burt sold it for $159,800 to Michael Ben-Chaim, who now wishes to triple the occupancy.

Do good things come in threes?  Perhaps...certainly for the new owner.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm. If they allow that, it will be really special getting out of Shay's Street. Dave's driveway was already difficult to exit in the best conditions. I can only imagine what it would be like with up to 12 cars entering and exiting at any time of day.

Anonymous said...

Just more absent landlord foolishness. Thanks for showing it for what it is.

Anonymous said...

More than 12 people can live here if they are related.

Ed said...

You know what I would love to see:

A challenge to the polygamy law on the grounds that they all care about each other and all the other stuff in the Goodridge decision -- along with the Goodridge divorce -- and demanding that the Town issue 16 UM kids a collective marriage license.

The case would take 2 years to get to the SJC -- and if the town was stupid enough to take the four person ordinance to court in the interim, they would have grounds to have it stayed pending the ruling by the SJC that they weren't "related."

I would so love to see this...

Ed said...

One other thing on this though -- if a fine is a criminal violation for willfully doing something wrong, why should the new owner be responsible for it?

Cleaning up the HazMat spill and paying for mitigation, yes --- but because someone else willfully didn't do so???

Likewise, did the *new* owner get a chance to challenge the legitimacy of the fine? I would have argued "guys, had I owned the property at the time, I would have cleaned this up then, you know I am doing it now, and exactly what law did I break?"

I get a speeding ticket and then sell my car -- *I*, and not the new owner of the vehicle, am responsible for the ticket.

Either I am missing something here, or as much as I hate to admit it, Keenan got screwed....

LarryK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Please note the bit of American flag abuse on the Keenan property.