Merrigan’s salvage operation

At the last public hearing regarding 64 South Elm Street, issues were mentioned involving a dumpster that had been on the property long-term and an associated salvage operation. Because Merrigan denied everything, here I will go into greater detail.

The house had been cleared out, power was disconnected, and it was marked for demolition back in 2020. All along since around that time, there had been a truck regularly present on the property and a man was seen entering the house and detached garage. It became an open secret in town that this man was in the business of clearing out houses around the area (likely not just Windsor Locks) and running tag sales. It seemed he was storing stuff in the vacant house and garage before selling it, likely in exchange for mowing the lawn and clearing the snow. Some neighbors were a bit bothered by this activity at the house, but generally nobody cared that much.

Merrigan's red roll-off dumpster next to farmhouse at 64 South Elm Street
The dumpster, 2.5 years after the house was marked for demolition. Notice the office chairs, clearly brought here from some different property.

That is until the dumpster showed up. The big red roll-off dumpster was sitting in the driveway for probably about 6 months. There was no demolition going on at the house. They weren’t clearing the house out. After all, the house should have been cleared out before being marked for demolition.

A number of rules seem to have been broken:

  1. It is a violation of the zoning regulations to operate a salvage operation anywhere within the town limits of Windsor Locks. Sorting through large amounts of stuff (especially as part of a commercial operation) and disposing of large amounts of it would be a salvage operation in most people’s minds. (Zoning Regulations, § 205)
  2. It is a violation of a town ordinance to import trash into Windsor Locks for disposal. If it is true that this operation involves cleaning out houses in neighboring towns, this ordinance would apply. (§ 299-5)
  3. A commercial storage (or salvage) operation is not a permitted use in a residential zone.
  4. Even in a zone that allows for a commercial use, you can’t just rent out an inhabitable building.

After many months of neighbor complaints, the town did get the dumpster removed. However, the operation seems to have continued, just using residential trash pickup instead of the dumpster. The problem is that properties without habitable houses are not eligible for town trash pickup!

It’s just one broken rule after another, and the town resists enforcement against cronies. It negatively impacts property values when we have commercial or industrial uses occurring in a residential neighborhood.