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Castle rental sparks continued opposition

RINDGE — As a neighborhood dispute on Sunridge Road concerning the rental of The Castle, owned by Rep. John Hunt and his wife, Lynda, persists in town, a trial date has yet to be set in the case at the Cheshire County Superior Court.

William and Maryann Harper, Andrew and Heidi Graff, Donald and Liza Pyke, William and Shirley Preston and Timothy and Susan Wessels, all residents of Sunridge Road, maintain that the town’s Zoning Board erred in its May and August decisions to allow Hunt, a Rindge republican, to continue to rent his home — an ornate mansion known as The Castle. The neighbors argue that Hunt is operating a business in a residential/agricultural zone and that their safety and daily life has been compromised.

The Zoning Board held a public meeting last week to decide whether or not to grant the neighbors a rehearing in the case. The neighbors appealed to the ZBA in September, alleging that the board’s administrative decision in August to allow the rentals to continue was “unlawful and unreasonable.” However, their request was denied in a 4-1 vote.

“The only reason to open this up would be if there were new evidence or if we were in violation of some ordinance or law,” ZBA member Marcia Breckenridge is quoted as saying in the Oct. 23 meeting minutes. “I am not aware of any new evidence.”

The Sunridge families filed a similar appeal with the town earlier this year, and that appeal was also denied on the grounds that the ZBA has no right to define Hunt’s rentals as a business. Since that time, the neighbors appealed the Zoning Board’s denial of a request for rehearing in the case to the Superior Court. A trial date has not been set.

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