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Town and sewer district officials, and York police officers inspected the Paras Pizza building in York Beach Wednesday afternoon, hours after an administrative inspection warrant was issued by the York District Court.
The action is a significant legal step in a four-year dispute between the town and Spiro Paras over work at the Railroad Avenue building.
The order by Judge Michael Cantara specifically stipulated that Spiro Paras was prohibited from entering the building during the inspection. His attorney, his engineer and his mother, who with husband Ernest owns the building, were allowed to be present, “but not interfere or obstruct the town’s inspection.”
Code Enforcement Officer Amber Harrison said following the inspection that it did appear that work had been conducted inside the building without a permit — including probable electrical and plumbing work, and structural work. She said she will have more detailed information on her findings in the next several days.
“It was unfortunate that in order to get in, we needed an administrative warrant,” she said.
She did say that one of the town’s biggest concerns — a 2012 excavation underneath the sidewalk on Railroad Avenue — had been rectified and did not pose a danger.
Meanwhile Spiro Paras said the inspection is the most recent and most egregious act by the town of York, which he has long claimed has obstructed him from completing work in the building that he has a right to undertake. He said everyone who inspected the building on Wednesday had inspected it in the past, except for Harrison.
“Clearly the intention [of the inspection] is to imply that there is something wrong. That’s calculated disinformation,” he said. “They will probably fabricate something implying I worked without a permit, but why would I? To save the .8 percent building fee?”
But in her affidavit in support of the court order, Harrison lays out a litany of instances where she and other town employees have sought permission to inspect the building to no avail.
“I have tried on multiple occasions to inspect the property and Mr. Paras has repeatedly refused access,” she wrote. “In order to verify existing conditions and to determine whether the work proposed in the building permit applications is compliant with state and local regulations, an inspection of the property is required.”
Those inspecting the property included, in addition to Harrison, Assistant Code Enforcement Officer Kathy Newell, York Beach Fire Chief Dave Bridges, Public Works Director Dean Lessard, York Sewer District superintendent Tim Haskell, York police Capt. Charles Szeniawski and police Sgt. Owen Davis.
Eleni Paras, Paras’ attorney Michael Boyd of Portland, and structural engineer Fred Emmanuel, who has been inspecting the property as required by an earlier court order, also attended.
Harrison said she will review her notes, speak with the state electrical and plumbing inspectors who had been invited but did not attend the inspection, speak with town officials who did attend and write a document on her findings by week’s end.
Depending on the conclusions she reaches, she could seek to speak with selectmen about next steps at the board’s Oct. 19 meeting.