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Deerfield not condemning farm house

Recorder/Paul Franz
Stephen D. Melnik, owner of the Bar-Way Farm on Mill Village Road in Deerfield, seen above, is being sued by two farm workers for living conditions of the house they has been living in, which is owned by Melnik.

Recorder/Paul Franz Stephen D. Melnik, owner of the Bar-Way Farm on Mill Village Road in Deerfield, seen above, is being sued by two farm workers for living conditions of the house they has been living in, which is owned by Melnik.

DEERFIELD — A local dairy farmer accused of violating state sanitary and housing codes is making repairs to a house that was cited for 47 violations this month.

Deerfield Health Agent and Building Commissioner Richard Calisewski said Stephen D. Melnik, owner of Bar-Way Farm Inc. on Mill Village Road, “already started cleaning it up.”

Calisewski said the dairy farmer has made arrangements to make the repairs to the two-story home at 174 Mill Village Road.

This week, two employees of Bar-Way, Benito Andrade and Sonia Luna, sued Melnik for alleged negligence, unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Protection Act, breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment and violation of the state sanitary code.

The couple filed the complaint on Monday and requested a preliminary injunction against Melnik. The pair have been employed at the farm since August 2012 and have been staying at the home owned by Melnik. The house is not a farm worker camp.

A court case is scheduled for 9 a.m. today in the Western Division of the Housing Court in Greenfield on Main Street.

On Thursday, at Bar-Way Farm, Peter Melnik, son of Stephen, said the family did not want to comment.

The town is not condemning the house, either. In the workers’ legal complaint, their lawyer Jennifer Dieringer of Community Legal Aid in Northampton, noted the town would condemn the single-family home this week.

“We were never condemning the house this week. I never said that at any point,” Calisewski said Thursday. He said there is no need to condemn the house as long as there are no occupants.

Dieringer could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Melnik cooperating

The legal complaint also stated Melnik had until Oct. 4 to make the repairs, but Calisewski said there is no deadline because Melnik is cooperating.

“There is no reason for enforcement because (Melnik) is cooperating,” Calisewski said.

The house is vacant and as a result the urgent housing concerns have disappeared, Calisewski said. However, if Melnik wants tenants, he needs to make the repairs, said Calisewski, speaking as the building commissioner.

Although the workers’ legal complaint indicated they were staying at the Red Roof Inn in South Deerfield, Calisewski said the couple is currently staying at the Rainbow Motel in Whately.

He said the couple is still working for Melnik.

The complaint follows an inspection on Aug. 30, in which the health inspector discovered a lack of potable water, raw human sewage in the basement due to a backup of the sewage system into the property, failure to provide a working toilet, lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, serious infestation of bees and rodents and issues with the roof, ceilings and walls. On Sept. 5, the town gave Melnik a correction order to fix the problems.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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