ROCKLAND, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – A Rockland man claims he was given the green light to build his three-bedroom house, but now he's being ordered to tear it down because of an alleged mistake made by the town.
In 2010, Robert Del Prete reportedly purchased a lot at 320 Concord St. in Rockland from his father and uncle to make it useful. The land to the back of it, their old farm, was sold to make a golf course, and other family members live next door.
"As far as the building inspector was concerned it was a grandfathered lot and he gave us the permit," Robert Del Prete told FOX 25.
Del Prete and his wife Sheree say they sunk approximately $400,000 into building the home on the lot and even had a buyer lined up for the property.
The potential buyer told the Del Pretes they were going to use the home to house adults with disabilities; however, around that same time, the town told the Del Pretes they gave the permit in error.
And now, about three years after getting building and occupancy permits, the town is threatening to tear down the Del Prete's house and says Building Inspector Thomas Ruble shouldn't have issued the permits in the first place.
Rockland town officials say the Del Pretes are in violation of zoning laws because they're about 3,700 square feet shy of the minimum buildable lot size in town.
The lot also needs an extra 12 ½-feet of road frontage to comply with the law; however, Del Prete claims his abutter refuses to sell him the land.
"The land doesn't comply for area. It didn't comply for frontage. And the property was not grandfathered," Rockland Town Administrator Allen Chiocca said.
The Del Pretes estimate their losses on the home total about half a million dollars with legal bills. They've lost their business and they were forced to move into the Concord Street house after their personal home went into foreclosure.
The town says they created their own hardship.
The matter will be back in housing court later in August.