ANDOVER — An apparent impasse between Andover Code Enforcement Officer Robert Folsom Sr. and businessman Brian Mills on compliance to town laws could be headed to court unless selectmen take action.

Folsom, on behalf of the Planning Board, has been trying to get Mills to comply with site-plan review and permitting laws. At issue is Kate’s Kones, an ice cream parlor operated by brother and sister, Isaac and Kate Mills, at 52 Main St. in the former Marston’s Garage that Brian Mills purchased. He ran a garage business there and initially planned to open a 25- to 29-seat restaurant. At some point, the idea became Brian Mills Garage & Ice Cream Shop.

Kate’s Kones opened on Father’s Day, June 13, 2013.

Folsom said Brian Mills did not go through the site plan review process or get necessary septic system, occupancy and plumbing permits.

Town officials said June 23 that 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.

On June 23, Folsom gave Isaac Mills a stop-work order for the septic system he said Brian Mills was installing without a permit.

At the July 7 selectmen meeting, Brian Mills provided the board with handouts and rebuttals to Folsom’s statements. He said he has been working in good faith with Folsom to get issues resolved and had to hire another septic system contractor, who arrived two weeks late, delaying compliance.

Not long after Kate’s Kones was shut down by Folsom, Trisha Mills, the owner of Mills Market just up the street, bought Kate’s Kones and moved the business into her store.

At Tuesday night’s selectmen meeting, Brian Mills sat quietly in the audience while Folsom reiterated his June 23 accounting of the process he followed to gain compliance from Mills and provided selectmen with additional documents.

Folsom said there were several businesses that hadn’t gone through the site plan review process and he provided the owners with information so they could comply. He said every one except Kate’s Kones from 52 Main St. had complied.

Folsom said the site plan requires, among other things, a copy of a septic system plan and a copy of the internal plumbing permit.

“We had a complaint they installed sinks without permits,” Folsom said. “We also had complaints there was no site plan review and no plumbing permits.”

Folsom said he got a copy of Brian Mills’ application to the state for a restaurant and the plan showed the business with a 500-gallon grease trap and 1,500-gallon septic system. Folsom said that plan is not a permit until the owner pays a fee and the plumbing inspector assigns a number to it and the owner must have copies of it.

Folsom said Mills told him he didn’t get a permit and that then code officer John Percival said he didn’t need a permit.

Folsom said Mills told him he put in two 1,500-gallon tanks for the septic system and didn’t put a leach field in.

“Brian’s not an axe murderer,” Folsom said in summation. “He’s not trying to rob businesses. I’m just trying to get him to get a permit.”

Board of Selectmen Chairman Jim Adler said the board would review both men’s documents.

Folsom said selectmen could resolve the matter by overruling him and issuing a consent agreement.

“Everything the Planning Board asked me for, I have complied,” Mills said. “Everything else, you’re going to hear from my attorney.”

Folsom told the board that Mills’ claims that he was issued a license from the state were unfounded. 

“I have spoken with the state and I have not been told by the state that they have given him a license,” Folsom said. “If you want me to back off, I will.”

Selectmen unanimously renewed Folsom’s job designations, such as plumbing inspector, but stopped short of renewing his code officer job. That contract expires at the board’s next meeting Tuesday, July 21, when it will be taken up, Adler said.

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Story edited July 17, 2 p.m.: John Percival said he was the code enforcement officer before Folsom, but not the plumbing inspector.


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