BRATTLEBORO — The town is taking a local property owner to court after he failed to comply with a health order.
At the beginning of Tuesday night’s Brattleboro Select Board meeting, John Potter, town manager, said the town gave Kurt Daims, who owns 16 Washington St., 10 days to comply with the health order.
“So the town is now seeking injunctive relief through the courts,” said Potter. “Although I understand the owner of 16 Washington St. has appealed your order to the Department of Health so, to be continued and I will keep you updated on that situation.”
A health order was issued after the town’s Assistant Fire Chief and Health Inspector Charles “Chuck” Keir III said three RVs on the site used for housing were “uninhabitable for human life.”
Daims was given until 4 p.m. on Feb. 10 to evict the people living in the RVs, but appealed the decision. On Feb. 21, the Select Board held an appeal hearing, but Daims failed to attend, instead submitting a written statement.
During that meeting, Kier, who visited the property with Brian Bannon, the town’s zoning administrator, said he found “human waste” around the property and a number of safety hazards, including no secondary means of getting out of the RVs in an emergency, towels and curtains used as doors, and windows blocked preventing emergency exit.
The town would seek injunctive relief from the court, a remedy which restrains a party from doing certain acts or requires a party to act in a certain way.
Daims, who spoke during the public participation process of the Tuesday night meeting, introduced himself as working for Brattleboro Common Sense and as the manager of “the emergency housing project in motor homes.”
He said he didn’t attend the Feb. 21 meeting “Despite some snide innuendo ... to do you a favor.”
Daims said he’s received threats and was concerned his attendance at the meeting would have caused “an ugly mess.”
However, he said, “Most of the people in my neighborhood who talk to me, they come out and say, ‘Oh, Kurt, you know, it wasn’t me who filed a complaint.’ So the neighborhood is mostly supportive and friendly.”
Daims said he stayed away at the advice of his board, and not for any sinister reason.
“It’s hard enough to conduct a good meeting or a good fair meeting, without people who want the opposite. And the project had already been smeared with enough crap. I didn’t want it to happen again. And I didn’t want it to happen here at the board.”
Instead, said Daims, he presented the written statement, “But I would never have guessed that you would suppress that statement. ... [Y]ou lose credibility when you say in one minute ‘Hey, we gotta hear from Kurt.’ And there he is in the form of a written statement, and you refuse to listen. That was grossly irresponsible and unfair.”
Daims asked the Select Board to read a revised version of the health report, “which I will submit to you soon.”
Select Board Chairman Ian Goodnow thanked Daims for his input and moved on to the next item on the agenda without comment.