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.