ANDOVER — Following a lengthy discussion at Tuesday night’s selectmen meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Robert Folsom Sr. issued a stop-work order for a septic system at Kate’s Kones, immediately shutting down the ice cream parlor.

Kate’s Kones, operated by Isaac and Kate Mills, opened on Father’s Day, June 13, 2013, at 52 Main St.

Town officials said they got a complaint from the Planning Board last year that the business had violated town laws. Folsom was asked to look into the complaint.

Folsom on Tuesday night handed Isaac Mills a big, red stop-work order placard to put on the building.

A message on the business’s Facebook page said it was closed “until we complete some critical construction.”

Initially, Folsom said he had spoken with Brian Mills, the father of Isaac and Kate Mills, and Folsom believed the matters of not getting a site-plan review and plumbing and occupancy permits had been settled.

Folsom said Brian Mills started the ice cream business without going before the Planning Board for a site-plan review and plumbing and occupancy permits. Mills was asked more than a year ago to go through the site-plan process and get permits, Folsom said.

He said Brian Mills first told him that he was a selectman and didn’t need a permit, and later told him that the previous code enforcement officer told him he didn’t need permits.

Andover’s occupancy permit requires certain septic systems designed and installed for customer occupancy, Folsom said. He said Mills claimed that in 2001 he got a septic system design from Main-Land Consultants Inc. of Livermore Falls for a 28-seat restaurant and a permit.

 
Folsom asked for a copy of it but never got one.

“(Mills) claimed that the local contractor put in two 1,500-gallon tanks, but (Mills) doesn’t recall he put them in there, but they’re still there and they’re still illegal,” Folsom said.

He said all he’s ever tried to do is to get Mills in compliance and go before the Planning Board for necessary permitting. “He’s agreed to do that,” Folsom said. “You hired me to get these people into compliance without going to court and having big legal fees, and I think that’s the way to do it.”

Isaac Mills said he and his mother, Sue Mills, attended the meeting to get a list of the violations and formal letters from Folsom. Both said they were unaware that the business wasn’t in compliance.

“When we get (the list and letters), we will comply right away,” Isaac Mills said.

“We didn’t send any letters of violation because so far, they’ve been complying,” Folsom said. He said he and the Planning Board want them to come before the board with necessary paperwork and finish the site-plan review.

Sue Mills said they have been trying to comply with town laws but it has been expensive.

“Bottom line, no one is allowed to open a business unless they go through a site-plan review,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Jim Adler said.

That prompted comments from Sue Mills and Averill that businesses have been allowed to open without that, but neither would tell Adler which ones.

Selectman Jane Rich attempted to find common ground to allow Kate’s Kones to remain open, prompting an angry rebuke from Folsom.

“We’re not negotiating this!” he said. “We gave them a whole year to work this out! If you don’t want to enforce this, just say so and I’ll give you my resignation right now!”

Adler brokered an uneasy truce, telling everyone that selectmen would back the code enforcement officer.

Later, Isaac Mills again asked Folsom for a list of what they had to do to comply and Folsom told him they were already given that list by the Planning Board.

He gave Isaac the stop-work order sign for the septic system being installed without a permit.

“You’re officially closed until you get an occupancy permit and a site-plan review, and you don’t have a legal septic system,” Folsom said.

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