NAUGATUCK — After 11 years of handling complaints and cross-complaints between the families of Burgess Michael Bronko and his neighbor, Andrew Finlay, the Zoning Commission on Wednesday voted to disavow itself from the feud.
“They can take the private action against Mr. Finlay,” said the commission’s attorney, Newtown-based Stephen Savarese, of Bronko and his wife Eileen, a former burgess. “I’m suggesting that the commission is within its rights not to take any action.”
Most recently, each family has complained the other is flooding their property. Finlay also complained last year that the Bronkos had installed an illegal tree fort. Savarese cited as an example the fact that the Zoning Commission decided not to cite the Bronkos while the tree fort ban was re-examined.
The decision Wednesday prompted an outcry from the Bronkos, who commented publicly after the vote.
“I’m just sad that this commission tonight took this vote to not enforce the town’s regulations, which are supposed to be in place to protect people like us from people like our neighbors, who don’t like to follow the rules,” Michael Bronko said. “This vote tonight disgusts me.”
The commission will follow its usual procedures for new proposed improvements on either property that require applications or permits.
After reviewing the file on the Bronkos and Finlays, which Savarese characterized as “sketchy” at best, he concluded there was no proof that Finlay’s yard was required to adhere to a 2-to-1 slope. The Bronkos have been fighting to get Finlay to regrade his yard.
“If we were to go on the offense, ultimately we might be required to go to superior court,” Savarese said.
A 2-to-1 slope was at one point required for approval of certain excavation projects, but that provision was removed from zoning regulations and later reinstated effective last month.
“The record is terrible because staff didn’t follow through,” Eileen Bronko said. “What homeowner has any chance of any fairness in this town?”