The town filed a complaint for enforcement against the Sisters and Brothers Investment Group, the owners of a crop of cabins in Colchester plagued with mold, broken appliances, and exposed septic tanks, who have apparently ignored the town’s emergency health order.

The investment group postponed numerous requests by the town for a public health hearing and failed to show at the final hearing opportunity. This is the next step in the town’s battle to enforce the health order, issued in May earlier this year.

After receiving an anonymous complaint about rotting floors on April 26, public health officer Denise Johnson-Terk, building inspector Derek Shephardson, and state fire marshall Chris Boyd inspected the cabins at Sharrow Circle, discovering numerous violations. According to the complaint report, some violations included mold, evidence of vermin, backed up or faulty septic systems, and nonfunctioning appliances. 

One resident told the Sun about accidentally falling into a malfunctioning septic tank behind her house and having trouble being unable to get property manager Joseph Handy of Sisters and Brothers to arrange repairs. When no changes happened, the resident constructed a makeshift cover for the exposed tank made of logs she found. 

While the resident’s septic tank was pumped following the town inspection in April, the complaint for enforcement states that no violations noted in the health order have been remedied. 

According to the report, the emergency health order originally stated that the investment group had until Sept. 1 to bring the property into compliance. However, after the hearing, the town Board of Health issued a letter to the group noting an accelerated date for compliance to expire on Aug. 1 instead. Board of Health chair Jeff Bartley noted in the letter that the violations “present[ed] significant public health risks.”

In addition to remedying health violations at the property, the town requested in their report reimbursement for inspections and civil penalties up to $10,000 for each day the violations have continued since May.