A large plywood sign in the backyard at 37 Mason St. facing the clinic says, “Steve Haley Ruined Our Family Home.” Haley is the owner of the building that houses the clinic.
Neither the Whites nor Haley returned calls seeking comment.
Handly, the attorney for Northeast Behavioral Health, said the company’s facility treats people who are “in crisis” for a variety of behavioral health issues. It has operated out of the Mason Street location for five years.
In issuing the cease-and-desist order, St. Pierre cited a ruling by the Zoning Board in 2003 when it granted a variance to Haley to renovate and expand the building at 41 Mason St., a former tannery, for commercial and light industrial businesses. As one of the conditions of the variance, the board limited the hours of operation in the building to between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Handly, however, said state law exempts nonprofit educational corporations from certain zoning regulations. In a letter to the Zoning Board, Handly said the city can impose restrictions on the size of the building, parking and other issues, but not the hours of operation.
“We’re working cooperatively with the building inspector to try and respond to questions to satisfy him that this is an activity that is exempt under the statute,” Handly said.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.