By: Tom Duggan – March, 2016
Salisbury residents Stacie and Mark Warcewicz, owners of The Meadow at Red Ridge Farm have filed a lawsuit against the Town of Salisbury for illegally placing unenforceable restrictions on their business license.
The Warcewiczs say that after years of holding weddings on their property with full consent from the town, they suddenly started getting harassed by town officials who placed unreasonable demands upon them to stay in business.
“We did this thinking we were allowed to. We had the insurance, we checked with the previous building inspector, but it was one thing after another. We were served with a cease and desist order. They sent inspectors from the town during weddings. The health department came in during weddings. We put in septic system, spent a lot of money doing what they wanted. It’s too much for us to do. We went to the Zoning Board of Appeals and won. After all that, we were told this was all done, and started booking weddings again.”
“That’s when they suddenly came up with the idea, right before we were to get our license, after spending all that money, they demand we build a road on wetlands after the fact.”
“So, in effect, the selectmen decided to add a brand new restriction out of the blue saying our guests have to come onto the property from Bayberry Lane [their home address where there is no access to the wedding site.] We don’t have the money to build a road and go through all the environmental regulations to build on wetlands.”
Warcewicz said that now the courts will decide as suits and counter suits have been filed over the neighbors’ complaints and the town’s illegal demands put on their business license. “Three abutters are suing us to stop us from having weddings. We are counter suing for the right of way to our own property, because of the unfair conditions the town put on our business license at the very last minute,” Stacie Warcewicz told the Valley Patriot.
“We are asking the court to take the town’s new condition off our business license. It’s not enforceable. The selectmen over stepped their boundaries and we want these restrictions taken off our business license.”
Warcewicz said that they had 9 weddings booked before the town targeted her for harassment and lost one wedding after the last board of selectmen meeting. She said that Town Manager Harrington admitted the demands were unenforceable and said they would be allowed to continue having weddings for what was already booked, “But he implied that I couldn’t book any more weddings after that. So, they shut me down except for those weddings already booked prior to their decision.”
The Warcewiczs say that the town is corrupt and they are leaving after more than four decades in town. Asked if they would stay if the town cooperated and they were allowed to continue doing business, Stacie said, “I don’t see that happening”.
The Wercewiczs recently expressed their frustration with the corrupt officials in the Town of Salisbury saying, “For 8 months we have been dealing with demands from our town, a lot [of them] have been, in our opinion, unreasonable. Hot water at our hand washing station, weekly health inspections, building of bathrooms (3) with a sink inside each (because apparently porta-potties are legal everywhere but at our farm), a brand new ($15k+) septic system,., All this, even though another popular farm in town which also has events, does not have to follow ANY of these same conditions. But, whatever we did what has been asked of us. All this on top of lawyer fees to fight the appeal of the building inspectors denial, not to mention the emotional stress caused by all this. NOT ONCE was there EVER any mention that the town (selectmen) were going to do what they did the other night.”
The Valley Patriot will be watching very carefully how this issue progresses in the courts, and will also be watching to see if any state agencies do their jobs and investigate the corruption in the town of Salisbury.