August 19, 2019
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York pizzeria remains closed as 5-year-old permitting dispute drags on

Deb Cram | The York Weekly
Deb Cram | The York Weekly
Pizza by Paras on Railroad Avenue remains at an impasse with the town of York.

YORK, Maine — The future of the Pizza by Paras block in downtown York Beach remains uncertain after new permits pulled by Spiro Paras to continue renovation were deemed incomplete by the town — leaving an impasse that goes back five years.

The Pizza by Paras building and an adjacent building are owned by Ernest and Eleni Paras. Their son, Spiro Paras, has been the liaison for his parents in dealing with the town, which he has called over the years unreasonable and unfair. He further honed those charges in a 10-page single spaced letter to the town last month.

The building has been closed since May 2010, when the town ordered renovation work to stop, charging that the family had not obtained proper work permits. Plumbing, electrical and structural violations also were alleged. That action set off a series of legal and permit-related issues between the town and the Paras family that continue to this day.

The newest chapter in the saga occurred this winter, when Assistant Code Enforcement Officer Luke Vigue informed the Paras family that several three-year town building permits held by Spiro Paras expired on Feb. 17. The permits had been granted in February 2012, after a judicial order rendered in an earlier lawsuit the town had brought against the family.

Since 2012, work as outlined in the permits has not been totally completed, said Vigue.

Six-month court-ordered reports to the town by a structural engineer hired by the family rarely contained new information over that three year period. Often the same verbiage was used in each report to explain work that has been conducted.

On Feb. 27, Spiro Paras came to Town Hall and pulled three new permits outlining work he intended to do, including renovation to an apartment, work in a basement area and work on the main dining room floor.

“These three separate, ‘oh so simple’ and straightforward permits that I applied for today are the first step in a series of logically ordered construction tasks,” he wrote to Vigue and the Board of Selectmen.

That statement was contained in a letter in which he charges the town with purposely placing barriers against him and his parents.

“There have been clear actions from nearly every department of the town aimed at obstructing my progress, and they have been in this regard very effective,” he wrote. “I would strongly urge you not to create any additional legal or bureaucratic obstacles or financial burdens to impede my progress.”

He notes several times in the letter the financial burden placed on his parents by not being able to garner income from their property.

Vigue, after reviewing Paras’ new building permits, said they were incomplete and much more detail was needed for all three. For instance, he said, Paras mentioned renovations to Apartment 12; however, there are only 11 apartments on site. Paras said he wants to pour cement slabs in the kitchen area and main dining room, “but I don’t know where that is. It’s vague and confusing and it raises red flags.”

In a letter to the Paras family, Vigue asked to schedule a preliminary inspection, and he is seeking an inspection by the York Beach Fire Department for potential life safety code violations and by the Maine State electrical inspectors.

“At this point, we’re waiting for him to give us a time when we could come,” said Vigue.

Spiro Paras was provided opportunity to speak with The York Weekly, but had not responded by presstime.

 



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