By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — The state Department of Consumer Protection is investigating complaints filed by a group of residents of the Riverview Mobile Home Estates and working with the company that manages the mobile home park to resolve them.
About 20 residents filed complaints last summer and fall — five of which have subsequently been withdrawn — citing issues with homes sinking, a rat problem and dangerously positioned trees at the mobile home park off Spring Street.
“This place needs a good investigation, a very good investigation,” said resident Judy Normandin, who is among those who filed a complaint about rats.
In her complaint filed last August, Normandin wrote she heard scratching and running noises from rats in her home, and found feces in cabinets and drawers.
Resident Richard Stebar filed a complaint saying his driveway and home are sinking, which has caused damage to the skirting around his home. He said he covered the skirting in glass to prevent rats and water from getting in.
Stebar said the area around his home needs to be regraded.
He said other residents are experiencing similar issues, and their mobile homes are tilting or sinking, causing water to pool nearby. A room in another home at one point began to detach from the rest of the structure and had to be sealed with foam, Stebar added.
Normandin and Stebar said they feel like their concerns are being ignored.
There are 144 mobile homes in the park, which sits on 26.5 acres, according to Assessor Carol Ann Tyler. Some of the homes are rental units.
Riverview Mobile Home Estates is owned by siblings Raymond J. Antonacci, Nancy Parkhurst and Ken Antonacci. The mobile home park is managed by Property Worx LLC in Watertown.
Kaitlyn Krasselt, communications director for the Department of Consumer Protection, said there is an open investigation and Property Worx is cooperating. She said five complaints have been withdrawn, some because complainants stated they were pressured to file a complaint.
Krasselt declined to provide further details citing the ongoing investigation.
Raymond J. Antonacci referred questions to Property Worx property manager Russell Antonacci, who is his son.
Russell Antonacci said curbing and driveway aprons along Nancy Lane were installed to eliminate runoff water. He said he also offered to buy Stebar’s home and offered him another one in the park.
Stebar said he declined the offer, saying the home he was offered was overvalued and had issues, too.
Antonacci said work has also been done to cut down trees in the park.
To address the rats, Property Worx hired Envirocare Pest Control LLC, of Watertown, to put bait traps throughout the property, Antonacci said.
The Naugatuck Valley Health District is also working with the company.
Melanie Dokla, assistant director for environmental health services for the health district, said the agency received one complaint in 2019, which has now been rescinded. The investigation is still active, she said.
Dokla said Property Worx has removed miscellaneous items that could harbor rodents, including garbage and broken furniture from vacant and occupied mobile homes. One more property has to be cleaned up, and the work is expected to be finished by the spring, according to Dolka.
“I’m still following it to make sure it’s still cleaned up,” Dolka said.
Antonacci said he’s asked residents not to have vegetable gardens, trash and bird feeders out.
“There has been a handful of activity. Some of the individuals, who submitted complaints, said there hasn’t been any activity and rescinded their complaints,” said Antonacci regarding the rats.
Robert Morrill was one of five residents who withdrew a complaint. He said he hasn’t seen any signs of rodent activity since Property Worx cleaned up some at the park. He added he won’t be completely convinced the rat issue has been addressed until the spring, but he’s pleased with what has been done so far.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m fine with what they did,” Morrill said.
Antonacci said he plans to meet with the residents who filed the 15 outstanding complaints this month to discuss their concerns. He said he needs the cooperation of residents to rectify the situation.
“We’re working with each homeowner to address the issue,” Antonacci said.