ZBA Grants Four-Month Extension for Demers Property
Owners of damaged Martin Avenue home is considering appealing decision.
A Martin Avenue family displaced since an oil spill at their home five years ago got something of a "good news/bad news" decision from the Salem Zoning Board of Adjustment Thursday night.
The good news is the board is allowing the family to continue having a mobile home on their property as they attempt to clean up the 21 Martin Ave. dwelling still facing significant problems.
The bad news for the family is they did not get the 12 month extension they were seeking, instead the board granted a four-month extension.
In an e-mail Friday, Michael Demers, whose mother, Suzanne, owns the home, said the family is considering appealing the ZBA's decision.
Demers and his stepfather, Gerald Troisi, appeared before the board Thursday night.
They asked for the year extension as they attempt to solicit donations from local contractors, builders and home improvement businesses to help.
On Feb. 6, 2007, over 200 gallons of home heating oil flooded their basement. The Demerses said it was because an employee of Haffner's Oil in Lawrence, Mass., overfilled their tank.
But they lost their court case against Haffner's, Haffner's insurer Acadia, and two companies responsible for the clean-up, Enpro Services and Ambrose Environmental Management, Inc.
In response, Michael has started the "Campaign For Mom's Home." It's an effort centered around replacing or fixing the foundation of the home that Michael said was once valued at over $300,000 and now is assessed at $55,000.
On Friday, Demers said the one-year extension "will help and give us the needed time."
The family has appeared before the ZBA on several occasions seeking extensions to continuing using the mobile home on the property. The consensus of both the board and the Demerses was that this will be the last time they appear before the board.
ZBA Chair Gary Azarian read from a letter from the N.H. Department of Environmental Services from August stating the home. Azarian said from the state's perspective "the house is clean and the house is livable."
Demers insisted the state's opinion is based on an acceptable level for the oil remediation at the home and did not take into account broken pipes, $10,000 worth of mold damage and that there is no heating oil tank in the house.
The board expressed sympathy for the Demerses, including the opinion of board vice chair Steve Diantgikis.
"There is a very human element here we all should consider," Diantgikis said.
At Diantgikis' suggestion, the board elected to give the family a 120-day extension on the mobile home.
Michael Demers said Friday that he's worried about the family's ability to get the work done in four months.
"We believe in any case, that to repair this home would take much more than 4 months," he said. "And we are trying to raise money and get people and companies involved."
In the meantime, Demers recently completed this commercial being played on local radio and posted on YouTube as they attempt to further their cause.