Town Manager promises to deal with High Street nuisance problems

WINSTED — In response to an open letter to the Board of Selectmen, Town Manager Joshua Kelly said the town would work to resolve various long-standing nuisance problems on High Street.
The board reviewed the letter, co-written by residents Anita Garnett and Beau Black, at the selectmen’s regular meeting on Monday, June 21.
Garnett and Black wrote in their letter that they purchased a home on 42 High Street in August 2003, and that there have been nuisance issues “for almost 19 years” in an area directly behind their home.
In their letter, they wrote that the problem started with the actions of the former owner of 30 High Street, Ronald LaPointe.
According to the town’s property database, LaPointe owned the property from 2001 to 2003, before it was purchased by R&B Real Estate Investment LLC.
LaPointe would purchase the property again in 2004 before it was sold in 2007 to McCann & Zeolla Real Estate Investment, who owned the property until the town took ownership due to unpaid taxes in 2019.
“Just prior to us purchasing 42 High Street [in 2003, LaPointe] proceeded to rip up the front lawn of 30 High Street and made it into a ‘parking lot’ for 512 Main Street, with no permits, no zoning presentation, all with no knowledge of the town,” Garnett and Black wrote in their letter.
Garnett and Black allege that 30 High Street eventually evolved into “a slum property” after it became vacant.
“Shortly after that, both properties were sold to a Bronx, New York, realtor/investor firm, and things proceeded downhill from there,” Garnett and Black wrote in their letter. “The ‘Bronx investors’ would make trips up on weekends, drop a load of ‘something’ off in the vacant house, left guarded by three large pit bulls all week, barking all day and night – and all ‘types’ of people coming and going. Only WE heard and saw the goings-on…and we called plenty of times! It wasn’t long after this time period the entire area behind us became a blighted ‘slum’ area.”
Garnett and Black wrote that “for literally 18 years, we have had an ongoing ‘battle’ regarding the unsavory goings-on, including, but not limited to, drug dealers, constant and consistent noise nuisance and loud booming Spanish music, etc, at all hours of the day and night, at times multiple occurrences a week, beginning every April, of every year, and continuing through the summer.”
“When cold weather arrives, we get some semblance of peace,” the couple wrote. “We are probably the only people in Winsted who look forward to Winter, for all the wrong reasons.”
The couple describes the area behind their 42 High Street as “a pocket which lies between Main Street and High Street, and is not visible from either street.”
“The ‘pocket’ is a lot used for parking for the properties on the Southside of the lot, which each of said properties fronting on Main Street, known as Kent Pizza building [536 Main Street – four parking spaces], 522 Main Street [two parking spaces] and 518 Main Street [gun shop – one or two parking spaces],” Garnett and Black wrote.
In their letter, the couple went on to accuse the tenants of 522 Main Street, and tenants of the Kent Pizza building, of being nuisances.
“For 18 years, we have dealt with, and put up with, to no exaggeration a hell hole of unsavory happenings on all levels consisting of yelling, screaming, loud booming music, and nuisance brought on by the disrespectful tenants of these Main Street properties, whose non-occupying owners have shown no interest in controlling their tenant’s negative actions or keeping the area maintained properly,” Garnett and Black allege. “These non-occupying owners are only interested in collecting the rent.”
In response, at the June 21 meeting, Town Manager Kelly said that he is working to address the various issues.
“The first step is trying to address the noise ordinance,” Kelly said. “I know this is something that you have all heard over time that has been a question of concern for our police department. There is a requirement under Connecticut state law that these ordinances be reviewed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).”
Kelly said that the town’s noise ordinances have not been reviewed by DEEP.
“Due to this, it would be difficult to enforce them,” Kelly said. “We are reviewing all of our ordinances right now, and that will be in the general package.”
Kelly said that the town has also issued letters to “anyone involved with nuisance activity that’s happening in that area.”
“I hope that any property owners who have tenants who may be involved will have conversations on behalf of the town regarding any nuisance that may be happening,” Kelly said. “We will also be taking a look at the streets and any complaints that come up in this regard from a blight and nuisance perspective. We are trying to pursue this on three different levels and I am very hopeful that we will see some resolution for the neighbors that are in a similar situation.”

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