MONROE, CT — First Selectman Ken Kellogg assured Town Council members that notices went out to all affected property owners before a unanimous vote to abandon a portion of Spring Hill Road, which will allow the owner of a corner lot on Route 111 extra room to build a restaurant or another type of commercial development.
But now one former resident has come forward claiming he is a rightful heir to his late parents’ property at 373 Spring Hill Road, and he is asking why the town did not notify him of the intention to discontinue the road.
Jason DuBac grew up in the house on Spring Hill Road with his sister and went on to live in town for years as an adult, establishing his business, Jay’s Tree Service. He has since moved to Searsburg, Vt.
DuBac became upset after learning about the Town Council vote after the fact, when a friend saw a Monroe Sun article on Facebook.
Kellogg said DuBac emailed staff members at Monroe Town Hall on Friday and he had Town Planner Rick Schultz call him.
“He’s not the property owner of record,” Kellogg said. “We followed the state law. If there is a new property owner, it has to be on the land records.”
Kellogg said Jason DuBac’s name is not listed as an owner of 373 Spring Hill Road on the town’s latest grand list.
John DuBac died in 2017 and his wife, Elsie, died in 2020, but since then a family lawyer did not ensure legal paperwork was updated to show Jason DuBac and his sister as the new owners. The property is still in their late parents’ names.
The Probate Court in Trumbull told The Sun Elsie DuBac’s estate is still open. However, Jason DuBac’s father’s will is on file there and it shows his intention for all of his property and assets to be split equally between his two children, should his wife die before him.
DuBac said, “I’m actually upset, because once I found this out I immediately reached out to Ken Kellogg’s office and I can’t get him to call me back, so he had Schultz respond to me, who’s just trying to cover his own mistakes.”
A foreclosure sale
Lorraine Tartaglia, of Tartaglia Commercial Properties, made the request to discontinue a portion of Spring Hill Road on behalf of Two Fifty Five Monroe Turnpike LLC, to make way for a restaurant, though plans for the use of the property are not finalized.
The portion of the street that has been discontinued borders 365, 373 and 375 Spring Hill Road and 255 Monroe Turnpike.
Prior to the Town Council’s 9-0 decision, the Planning and Zoning Commission had approved a municipal referral.
DuBac’s sister, Suellen, and her partner, Richard DallaCosta, attended last Monday’s Town Council meeting, when the vote took place, and DallaCosta expressed his concerns, such as who will plow snow from the roadway once the town gives up the portion of the street.
Jason DuBac said he was upset to see comments by DallaCosta in The Sun article, when he believes DallaCosta has no legal standing to speak. He was also irked by the first selectman’s offer for DallaCosta to call him to facilitate talks with the developer whenever he had concerns.
However, the dispute over who owns the residential property at 373 Spring Hill Road may be moot later this month. A sign in front is advertising a foreclosure sale on Jan. 28.
DuBac said he may try to buy it.
A legal opinion
On Friday, Kellogg sought a legal opinion from Attorney Vincent Marino. Kellogg shared the following email from Marino, which he said was also sent to DuBac:
The Discontinuance of Roads is governed by Connecticut General Statute 13a-49. The law requires that notice be provided as follows:
“Such notice shall be provided by mailing a notice of the date, time, place and subject of such meeting of the [town council] to such owner at such owner’s address, as shown on the last-completed grand list of the town, by first class mail postmarked not less than thirty days prior to the date of such meeting.” (Emphasis added).
Marino goes on to tell Kellogg:
As you stated in your memorandum concerning the final resolution regarding the proposed discontinuance of a portion of Spring Hill Road, “On December 6, 2022, the owner of each property that bounds the portion of the roadway proposed for discontinuance (“the Road”) was sent a notice of the date, time, and place of the meeting when it was anticipated that the Town Council shall vote to take final action on the discontinuance of the Road, by mailing a notice to each such owner’s address, as shown on the last-completed grand list of the town, by first class mail postmarked not less than thirty days prior to the date of such meeting.”
Accordingly, the Town followed the law and proper process in the matter. Mr. Dubac’s family should have notified him.
‘Proof of existence’
Though the town’s attorney’s opinion is that he did not have to be notified of the intention to abandon the portion of Spring Hill Road in front of his late parents’ house, since his name is not on the deed, DuBac contends that town officials should have notified him.
He said it would have taken a simple Google search to find out who he is. DuBac was in the news in 2013 when he fought with the town for the right to be a vender at the Farmers’ Market, as a chainsaw sculptor.
DuBac sculps bears and other animals out of wood.
His photo was on the cover of the Connecticut Post on July of 2013 and he was also written about in The Monroe Courier and on Monroe Patch.
DuBac is mentioned as the late DuBacs’ son in published obituaries and his business and tax information is still on file at Monroe Town Hall.
He said he asked town officials for a packet of information on the Spring Hill Road issue, but was denied.
DuBac intends to make the drive from Vermont to attend the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting this Thursday. The commission had approved a municipal referral for the discontinuance of Spring Hill Road after members were assured all property owners were notified.
DuBac wanted to be added to the agenda for this Thursday’s meeting, so he could have a discussion with commissioners, but he will only be allowed speak in the public comment session, in which commissioners do not have to respond.
DuBac said, “it’s a generic way of saying, ‘thanks for your 60 seconds and see you pal. Thanks for driving three hours one way to do that.'”
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