WELLS — The Zoning Board of Appeals on July 16 voted to deny the appeals by Wells Selectman Christopher Chase of two land use notices of violation and order to correct. They were issued after he was found to have used his home as a business and added a shed to his property, in violation of town ordinances.

The vote in both decisions was 4-1, while a third appeal of a similar notice involving Selectmen Chase’s business address will be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals in August.

Chase owns Chase Building Movers Inc., a business started by his father, Reggie Chase, which Christopher Chase took over in 1994. According to Chase’s attorney, Matthew J. Williams of Hodsdon & Ayer, Chase previously stored his moving business equipment at a property at 12 Vera Lane, but due to a divorce, Chase was forced to move his equipment in August 2014 to his residence. His home, at 476 Littlefield Road, is in Wells’ Residential A zoning district. Later, a friend permitted him to store the equipment at a vacant lot behind Chase’s property on Ridgetop lane.

“The equipment and materials (of Chase Building Movers) are being stored on a different property,” Williams said, in the basis of his defense of Chase.

However, abutters and the Wells Code Enforcement Office allege that he was regularly operating his business out of the Littlefield Road property. Several of Chase’s neighbors spoke at the appeal.

William Perkins of 484 Littlefield Road said that his quality of life has declined since Chase’s business was moved nearby.

“Mr. Chase has upset my life, my parent’s lives and all my neighbors’ lives ”¦ so I ask you to please stop these violations and restore the peace and tranquility of this neighborhood,” Perkins said. His sister, Linda Hazelstein, who cares for their mother with dementia on the property, said the business has been “a nightmare.”

“I just think it’s really unfair that this can happen,” Hazelstein said.

Sandra Guay of Woodman Edmans, who represents the Code Enforcement Office in this case, said that the Code Enforcement Office has received several complaints about Chase’s home since September 2014 and had tried to work with Chase on setting up a home business. Guay noted that Chase had registered his vehicles with the U.S. Department of Transportation at the Littlefield Road address, the only legal address of Chase’s business.

Alan Zullo, who formerly lived at 464 Littlefield Road, supplied pictures and video of Selectman Chase’s equipment during the appeal.

On Jan. 14, a notice of warning was sent for compliance by February 16; on February 17, the first notice of violation was sent, and Chase was given until March 12 to comply. Representatives of the Code Enforcement Office noted that vehicles remained on the Littlefield Road property well past the deadline.

Attorney Jim Barlett, who represents abutters William Perkins, Alan Zullo and Robyn Reeves, said that Chase’s status as a selectman weighed on the case.

“I think he has a greater obligation than the average property owner in this town ”¦ and does not seek to subvert local law through fancy footwork, because when he does that he undermines the public’s confidence in the law,” Bartlett said.

“From this board’s view it is irrelevant that he is a Board of Selectmen member and we will treat him equally,” Zoning Board of Appeals Chair Wilber Gosbee said.

Chase was fined $1,000 and will be required to pay double the permit fees, though he can appeal to the Superior Court.

“What happens next, I’m not sure,” Gosbee said. “It’ll be up to the code enforcement officer what to do next; maybe they’ll come to some sort of agreement.”

Chase did not immediately respond to requests for comment.



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