Pepperell Board of Health member claims his own board violated Open Meeting Law

Private meeting with Town Administrator emailed to other members

Pepperell Board of Health member Phillip Durno, left, Chair Margie LaFleur and member Grover Pillsbury

PEPPERELL – Grover Pillsbury’s concerns over mobile home park permits have lead him to filing an open meeting law against the board of which he is a member.

Pillsbury announced his filing of the violation to Town Clerk Jeanne Survell and Attorney General Maura Healey office during a board meeting Tuesday evening.

According to the Jan. 7 complaint, Pillsbury claims that he had a private meeting with Town Administrator Andrew MacLean on Dec. 23 to discuss the park permit renewal and violations allegedly made by Fairlane Homes, the Lunenberg-based mobile home corporation that owns the Suburban Village mobile home park on Maple Street.

Fairlane currently owns two mobile home parks in Pepperell, two more in Shirley, one in Lunenburg and one in Erving.

A resident of Suburban Village told The Nashoba Valley Voice in October that Fairlane had allegedly manufactured and implemented tenant rules for one of its trailer parks in Pepperell back in 2005 that were not approved by the attorney general. The AG implemented specified statewide tenant rules in 2004.

At the Oct. 29 Board of Health meeting, a representative for Fairlane told the board the reason for the wrong rules was due to an error by a former rental agent and not knowing the rules were inaccurate. When the AG tried to notify Fairlane of the improper rules via letter, the representative said the letters were sent to the wrong address. Fairlane told the board at the time that its parks would follow the tenant rules approved by the AG.

Pillsbury said that he was concerned that some residents of both Suburban Village and Green Acres Mobile Home Park on River Road, also owned by Fairlane, had not received the proper tenant rules. He added that he spoke to Sandy Overlock, chair of the Massachusetts Manufactured Homes Commission, who told him the board and the town itself could be sued if the park permits were renewed.

Furthermore, Pillsbury said that Suburban Village has had prior issues with rodents and roads being in poor conditions. Pillsbury said that before he was elected to the board in April 2019, he was a resident of Suburban Village for four years and addressed potential violations to the board. He said that the owner of the park told the board that he was “retaliating” and trying to “ruin” the business.

After the meeting, MacLean sent an email on Dec. 23 to Pillsbury that included Administrative Assistant Brynn Montesanti, Health Agent Kalene Gendron and Board Chair Margie LaFleur.

“By doing that, he created a quorum on that meeting,” Pillsbury following Tuesday night’s meeting. “That is the open meeting violation I filed tonight.”

At the Dec. 27 meeting, the board approved a renewal of Suburban Village’s park permit in a 2-1 vote, with Pillsbury being the dissenting vote. At Tuesday’s meeting, Pillsbury also voted against renewing the park permit for Green Acres.

“My thing with Green Acres is strictly that those people were provided with the incorrect rules,” Pillsbury said after Tuesday’s meeting. “I’ve asked that the board create hearings so that we make sure every single resident in both parks have the correct rules. It has been ignored. There’s got to be people in that park that have the wrong rules and I feel that it’s our responsibility to make sure that the correct rules are there.”

Pillsbury has asked that the actions taken at the Dec. 27 meeting be voided due to the violation, requiring another meeting to be held for Suburban Village’s license renewal. The Board of Health has 14 days to reply to the Attorney General’s office.

Board Chair Margie LaFleur said in an email to The Voice on Wednesday that she could not comment on questions relating to Pillsbury’s filing.

Town Administrator Andrew MacLean did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.