Board of Health shuts case on mobile home park complaints

Resident files open meeting law complaint after board claims to have addressed issues

Pepperell Board of Health member, Phillip Durno, left, Chair Margie LaFleur and Grover Pillsbury during a meeting on Tuesday

PEPPERELL – After months of debate and heated arguments among members, the Board of Health has closed its inquiry into alleged health and safety concerns at the Suburban Village Mobile Home Park.

The board responded to complaints made by park resident Jackie Bryson during its meeting last month. The park, owned by Lunenberg-based mobile home corporation Fairlane Homes, has been the subject of controversy since last October.

Bryson and board member Grover Pillsbury believe that Fairlane did not distribute state-approved tenant rules to all park residents on top of not addressing potential health and safety violations.

The fallout from these allegations included Pillsbury filing an open meeting law violation to Attorney General Maura Healey and tense exchanges between Pillsbury and member Phillip Durno.

Bryson submitted a list of complaints regarding her own mobile home in the park on Maple Street. Board Chair Margie LaFleur read the board’s responses to those complaints out loud during Tuesday’s meeting.

Bryson requested that Suburban Village’s water and sewer systems be tested after claiming they haven’t been tested since they were first installed. LaFleur said the board contacted Joe Jordan, the town’s superintendent of water and sewer, who said in an email dated Jan. 30 that the town had no health violations in its tests of its water supply and is in the process of completing a town-wide review of all of its sewer lines. Jordan also noted that individual home owners and residents are responsible for testing private water lines and wells.

Bryson claimed that water drainage has caused the road near her home to deteriorate and her house to sink. She added that one house in Suburban Village has shifted in the ground so much that its floors are uneven and is “noticeably showing signs of duress.” For both accusations, LaFleur claimed that the board hasn’t received any complaints from any owners or residents of the park.

Bryson believes there were several mobile homes for rent in Suburban Village that have never been inspected. LaFleur gave Bryson copies of permits for the demolition and installation of new trailers that were inspected. She added that further questions Bryson had about inspections should be directed to Pepperell’s Building Department.

Bryson claimed that “several people” reported rats in their brush piles and yards, even submitting a picture of a dead rat she found in the middle of the street. LaFleur said that issue is something the board and Fairlane are “working on together,” though she noted Bryson’s picture had “no context” and was therefore difficult to determine where and when the rat was found.

“I feel that the board had done its due diligence,” LaFleur said. “The board has made proper determination to issue licensing for this park. If you have any further complaint, you may do so in writing. As of tonight, these issues presented here have been addressed.”

Pillsbury objected, noting that there are still some residents in Suburban Village who have yet to receive proper tenant rules and that the park’s common area should not have debris in it to avoid attracting rats.

LaFleur and Durno stopped Pillsbury’s further comments, further emphasizing the issue of Fairlane was closed.

“We’re going to stop right now,” LaFleur said.

“She’s the chairman, she has finalized this problem,” Durno said. “The problem is between the people and the park owner.”

Shari Jenson, office manager for Fairlane, said at the meeting that she sent maintenance personnel to address concerns of debris throughout the park by disposing them in a nearby dumpster. She also claimed that Pillsbury had made posts on social media that tried to defame Fairlane, which Pillsbury denied.

Before the subject was closed, Bryson submitted her own open meeting law complaint to the board. Bryson said her filing was at the suggestion of the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General after she submitted a video recording of the Dec. 27 board meeting by Pepperell Community Media to the office. She claims that the video was edited to remove a segment of the meeting, which she attended, where LaFleur called out Bryson by name for trying to issue concerns about Suburban Village and recited open meeting law to explain why she was denying Bryson to speak.

“We will respond accordingly,” LaFleur said Tuesday night.

Jenson refused a request for further comment after the meeting.