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Marcisso given 30 days to come into compliance
NORWAY — The Norway Planning Board heard from Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman about the long history of problems at 9 King Street during a public hearing August 9, regarding non-compliance with the Norway Rental Ordinance.
The property, owned by Vincent Marcisso DBA Western Highlands LLC, has been the subject of complaints and non-compliance since Corey-Whitman did an annual inspection in February.
"I found a number of deficiencies," Corey-Whitman told the board, which included outlets hanging out of walls, smoke detectors that needed updating and a rotted bulkhead which posed a danger.
According to Corey-Whitman, Marcisso's handyman said he "would get right on it" but nothing was done.
"Then I began getting complaints from tenants that there was no heat," said Corey-Whitman.
Corey-Whitman explained that because of the lack of cooperation from the handyman, she began communicating directly with Marcisso via email.
"Some things got better, some things were explained to me," Corey-Whitman continued, "but then in June I got another complaint and it's been just ongoing."
Consequently, the building's occupancy permits were pulled making it illegal for tenants to remain. However, some are still in residence. Corey-Whitman noted that to remove them, she would have to begin the lengthy eviction process.
Corey-Whitman told of a second-floor tenant who had 14 or 15 cats and that the apartment had an odor as a result. She said Responsible Pet Care had removed all but three cats but that the odor still existed.
"I was there today," she said, "he [Marcisso] has done some improvements, the electrical GFIs have been secured and are working properly ... the bulkhead has been made safe ... there is still work to be done ... ."
She said she had met with the new handyman who seemed very responsive.
"Right now, I am willing to give this 30 more days to get repaired," she said, recommending the board give Marcisso another 30 days to come into compliance.
Marcisso explained all the problems as tenant-caused. He said tenants wouldn't give him access, that they would pay first month's rent then stop paying, one had a pit bull, the police told him to stay away and take it to court because the tenants said he was harassing them ... .
"I ... had ... the Section 8 program and every time they requested something I did it, I maintained the buildings the best I could," Marcisso told the board Thursday.
He said he would always address life safety issues.
Marcisso has a history of code violations in property he owns. He was one of two local landlords disbarred from the federal Section 8 housing voucher program for a history of inspection failures and his failure to bring his units into compliance, according to Maine State Housing Authority.
However, Marcisso claims that he was not disbarred but, in fact, chose to leave the program. He said the Section 8 program required things that were not necessary and that he refused to do.
"After the newspaper article came out ["Slumlords, shoddy oversight, taxpayer dollars ...living on Section 8" – Advertiser Democrat, October 28, 2011] ... people stopped paying rent ... everything that was life safety I fixed immediately ... I'm not going to do all the things Section 8 wanted me to do."
And the tenants didn't leave for two months, he continued, "so Section 8 said 'we just as soon not have you in the program', and I agreed."
Marcisso said he is in process of evicting his tenants at 9 King Street and as soon as the units are empty they will be fixed.
Corey-Whitman told Marcisso and the board, "I would like to come back in two weeks and if all those things are fixed I have no problem with a Conditional Occupancy." The board agreed.