A New Hampshire State Representative lives in an RV and garage on his own property in Belmont, but city officials hope to evict him for not complying with building and occupancy permits.
Representative Michael Sylvia has refused to talk publicly about his conflict with the town that is taking him to court, but letters he has written to a town official and the town’s attorney make clear the lawmaker believes what he does on his property is his business and not the town’s, reports The Laconia Daily Sun.
The town alleges Sylvia’s occupancy of the RV and garage violate town regulations. In addition, the town questions whether there is a working septic system on the property.
Sylvia declined to speak to a reporter when contacted by phone and again when visited at his residence. But in letters Sylvia wrote to Belmont Code Enforcement Officer Steve Paquin and town attorney Laura Spector-Morgan, he argues that the guarantees of liberty enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. and New Hampshire constitutions overrule any government regulations dealing with private property. Further, he says the town’s efforts to get him to comply with the regulations amount to harassment, and he insists his property poses no risk to the public.
In a letter to Spector-Morgan dated May 15, Sylvia said the illegal activity being alleged by the town amounts to “pure speculation and irrelevant factoids.” Moreover, he wrote that if there was any illegal activity on his property, then Belmont police would have come, equipped with a warrant, to see whether there was any evidence to support the charges.
Sylvia has been living in the garage and the RV since he bought the property in 2011.
The town has so far failed to get Sylvia to agree to allow for an inspection of his property, agree to a plan to take whatever corrective action may be necessary, apply for permits, pay any necessary fees, schedule building inspections, and obtain an occupancy permit.
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday in Belknap Superior Court. At that time the town is expected to ask the judge to bar Sylvia from living in either the RV or the garage.