MONROE, CT — A potential heir to a 1.4-acre-property with a brown raised ranch at 373 Spring Hill Road informed the Town Council of his intent to file a lawsuit appealing the town’s decision to close the portion of the street that runs in front of his late parents’ home.
“I’ve never sued anybody in my life,” Jason DuBac said during the public comment portion of the Town Council meeting Monday night. “So in order for me to challenge this in court, I actually have to file a suit against you. So I physically have to sue somebody for the first time.”
“But maybe that’s what it is,” he said. “It’s like the pressure of the town of Monroe and you’re gonna squeeze the little guy, because your lawyers are getting paid either way. But I’ll pay my lawyer. I want him to file already, but he’s building his case — and he will. And I can’t wait until he does, because this will end up goin’ in front of three judges who will be fair and impartial.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a municipal referral to close that portion of Spring Hill and First Selectman Ken Kellogg presented the proposal to Town Council, which approved the closure in a unanimous vote on Jan. 9.
Lorraine Tartaglia, of Tartaglia Commercial Properties, had made the request on behalf of Two Fifty Five Monroe Turnpike LLC, to make way for a restaurant, though plans for use of the property are not finalized.
The parcel at 255 Monroe Turnpike has a triangular shape that makes it difficult to develop, but discontinuing the portion of Spring Hill Road at the corner allows more room for things such as a larger building, parking lot or drive thru, because all bordering property owners would gain property from the dead-end street.
Prior to the town’s decision, Kellogg said the town’s land use attorney was consulted and all property owners were notified.
DuBac, who grew up in the house at 373 Spring Hill Road and now lives in Vermont, was upset upon learning of the road closure from a Monroe Sun article after the fact.
However, Kellogg said DuBac is not the owner of record and did not have to be notified, a position supported by the legal opinion of Attorney Vincent Marino, who does work for the town.
Though all affected owners will be able to access their properties, DuBac believes the town decision will adversely affect property values.
DuBac’s late father John DuBac’s will named him and his sister, Suellen DuBac, as heirs in the event his wife died before him. But their mother, Elsie DuBac, outlived her husband. She died in 2020 and her estate is still not settled.
Because of this, neither Jason nor Suellen DuBac are listed on the grand list as owners of the property, though Suellen DuBac wrote a letter to the town expressing support of discontinuing the portion of the roadway and listed her address as 373 Spring Hill Road.
Complicating matters, the property is under threat of foreclosure. As of Nov. 9, 2021, $276,628 was owed on the mortgage, plus accruing interest, fees and legal costs, according to a lawsuit brought by American Advisors Group to foreclose on the property.
Jason DuBac had told The Sun his lawyer successfully delayed a foreclosure sale that was scheduled for Jan. 28.
Questioning the process
DuBac has not been able to get on a meeting agenda for either a Planning and Zoning Commission or a Town Council meeting, but has spoken during public sessions of several meetings already.
DuBac said he watched the YouTube video of the Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission’s July 7, 2022 meeting, when Town Planner Rick Schultz told commissioners the dead end portion of Spring Hill Road was never connected to Route 111 and that this commission never saw a need to connect it in the future.
DuBac said he believes his family’s portion of the street was connected to Route 111 as a through road when, around 1993, the town disconnected it and made it a dead end street, then reconnected Spring Hill Road to Route 111 at a different area, adding a traffic light.
Schultz has since told the commission he had misspoke when he said the street was never connected to Route 111.
DuBac contends town board votes were based upon misinformation, because of this and that the process to close the road should start all over again.
In the course of his campaign to bring attention to the issue, DuBac wore blue war paint on his face and tied a plaid shirt around his waist to look like Sir William Wallace in the historical movie “Braveheart”, about the late 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England.
Standing in front of the “welcome to Monroe” sign at Route 111 and Spring Hill Road, he recorded a video of himself saying, “I stand before you in defiance of Monroe First Selectman Ken Kellogg’s road closure for a private developer’s benefit.”
On Monday night, DuBac spoke at the Town Council meeting and vowed to continue to make the drive from his Vermont home to speak at future meetings.
“Usually I come in here with actual facts and try to ask the town for fairness, but how many times have I been here now? Four for Town Council? Three for Planning and Zoning?” he said, while facing council members seated at the dais. “And there is no fairness in Monroe.”
“You guys all made an improper decision that affects my life and has anybody taken two minutes to look up anything I said?” DuBac asked. “Because it was actual facts. It wasn’t my opinion.”
“So I get the 180 seconds and then you flatter me, and then I’ll drive back,” he said. “But I’ll be here every time. This is dirty and I’m telling you all this is dirty right to your face … you oughta be embarrassed at yourselves. I’ll see you next week,” he added, before lightly rapping his fist on the wooden rail three times.
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