WESTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A local family’s dream of home ownership hangs in limbo.
A couple and their child have been without a place to call home about a year after a neighbor’s complaint led to the town of Westhampton enforcing rules that the couple says were not enforced on other residents.
“All we want is our home. That’s all we want,” said embattled property owner Amber Kellogg.
Four feet is stopping Amber Kellogg and her husband Michael Barbeau from building their home on Northwest Road in Westhampton.
The foundation has to be 50 feet away from the road. It’s only 46 feet away.
Amber and Michael had to abandon the project and now there is water and debris in the exposed foundation. There’s a chance that if it stays exposed during the winter, the foundation could crack. The family also says they can’t move the foundation back because of the slope of the land and an underground telephone line.
The land was passed down from Amber’s grandfather. They got a building permit, but had to stop construction when neighbor Mary Powers took issue. 22News went to her home, no one answered.
Amber and Michael have a $117,000 loan and $30,000 of their own money invested.
“Everything that we have saved. I’ve worked since I was 17 very hard. Our life savings is invested. We are pot committed. Everything we have is in this and if it doesn’t go through, we go bankrupt,” said Michael Barbeau.
It’s taken a toll on their family too.
“My daughter has been taking it so hard. How do you explain to a 7 year old that you can’t have a home. How do you explain that you have to keep fighting for something that we were told was the right way. She doesn’t understand it,” said Kellogg.
They applied for a variance to allow construction to continue but it was shot down by the town’s zoning board of appeals, a decision most people didn’t agree with.
“In my opinion the variance should have been granted because it met the three criteria required to grant the variance,” explained Westhampton Highway Superintendent David Blakesley.
Amber and Michael say they know what’s next. They have to get a lawyer and sue, but they say they don’t have the money.