A Feud Between Fan Hill Road Neighbors

Lisa Gangnath has been battling with neighbors, State Rep. DebraLee Hovey and her husband Paul Balsano, for years.

Editor's Note: This story has been edited. Patti Campbell fought with Hovey and Balsano over their basement improvements two years ago, then over a scarecrow on a toilet — not Lisa Gangnath. Gangnath filed the Inland Wetlands complaint and Campbell attended Wednesday night's meeting to support her fight against Hovey and Balsano.

State Rep. DebraLee Hovey (R-112th) and her husband have been fighting with their Fan Hill Road neighbors for years. Two years ago, Patti Campbell filed a complaint claiming Hovey had finished her basement with a full bathroom at her ranch-style house without the proper permits. Hovey was running for reelection at the time and town Democrats jumped on it.

After Hovey won easily, she and her husband Paul Balsano placed a large sign on their front lawn thanking voters for their support — with a scarecrow wearing a mask from the slasher movie "Scream" sitting on a toilet beside it. Campbell, who said she felt threatened, filed a police report. Hovey countered that Campbell had bullied her for years.

Now Hovey and her neighbors are at it again. This time, Lisa Gangnath, whose mother lives next door to them, lodged an Inland Wetlands complaint against Hovey and Balsano, who also filed a complaint against her.

Hovey was in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, so Balsano and Gangnath squared off at an Inland Wetlands Commission meeting that night.


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Balsano accused Gangnath of ripping out grass in a one-foot-by-six-foot area around his pond, making it unstable. He wants her to restore the grass buffer.

Gangnath contends the grass was actually on her property. Her husband, Phil, said Gangnath is allergic to the ornamental grass Hovey had planted.

"She gets hives near that," Phil Gangnath said. "We replaced it with wood chips and did the same amount of plantings."

Lisa Gangnath filed a complaint against Hovey and Balsano, accusing the couple of using pipes to drain the pond into the wetlands to protect their basement from flooding and building a fence and a shed close to the wetlands without permits.

Balsano admitted to having installed the pipes and said he built the shed 14 years ago. Balsano also contends that the shed and a decorative fence on his property are not close to the wetlands.

Buffer Around the Pond

Inland Wetlands Chairman Jeremy Hayden had asked Lisa Gangnath if she would agree to replant the ornamental grass buffer in the small area around the pond.

"Absolutely not," Gangnath replied. "I have a buffer. I'm not trying to be unreasonable. There's no runoff and I'm constantly being hassled and hassled and hassled."

Hayden wondered about the willingness of the neighbors to work together toward a mutual agreement.

Gangnath said, "That would be nice. But no."

Town Engineer Scott Schatzlein said it's up to the Inland Wetlands Commission to decide if what Gangnath did constitutes gardening or if it is a wetlands violation.

Schatzlein said, "The question is whether the area is a buffer that shouldn't be disturbed."

Hayden said the commission doesn't want wood chips going into the pond.

Commissioners visited the property before Hurricane Sandy, but had different conclusions. Cathy Kohut said the disturbed buffer area did not look stable, while Hayden and Michael Muttitt thought it did look stable.

Because a hurricane had hit the region since the inspections, Dan Hunsberger suggested that he and fellow commissioners walk the property again with the owners' permission to see how the buffer is now.

Nobody had a problem with another site visit.

Draining the Pond

Gangnath said the number one issue is the pipes draining water from the pond. She said Balsano told her he had no idea where the pipes were, adding she eventually found plastic pipes draining water onto her property.

"I do not want him draining any water on my property," she said. "I was never asked. My mother was never asked. He just secretly drained it to keep his basement dry."

Gangnath also accused Hovey and Balsano of building a fence without a permit.

"She's a state rep. She should know the rules," Gangnath said of Hovey.

Balsano said, "The pipes have always been at the top of the pond, so it wouldn't overflow. Someone filled it with rocks and sticks. I called the police when that happened."

When the water reaches a certain level, Balsano said the pipes take it back to the wetlands. "You're welcome to see it," he added.

Gangnath said, "He put the drains in. I saw it. And he changed the property. It used to be wet, now my mother's property is dry."

Hunsberger noted that even without the pipes, the water would continue to flow into the wetlands because of the slope of the property. But Gangnath did not care. She said she would rather the water flow naturally than by piping on her property.

The commission decided to revisit the pipe issue at its next meeting and it unanimously decided that Balsano should file agent applications for permit approvals for his shed and decorative fence.

An agent application is decided administratively, rather than by a commission hearing. Once there is an approval, Schatzlein said the applicant must publish the decision in the newspaper so anyone who opposes it would have the opportunity to petition it to a public hearing — though he said that's rare.

Donna Gail November 16, 2012 at 05:15 PM
eh she will probably not run again because she has now been in the spot long enough to receive free medical coverage for the rest of her life. If this story had come out before the election, it would have just been blamed on the democrats again like last time. You should know by now: if DLH gets caught doing anything wrong, she & her cronies say it's the democrats' fault and they are just being political.
Lisa Gangnath November 16, 2012 at 08:43 PM
DebLee Hovey Stated in the Monroe Couier on Nov 6th."Some of her Goals in the new term will be to pass legislation to hold contractors and wellas property owners accountable for seruring and following zoning Permits.But you never took out a permit when you drained your pond to add your draining pipes to keep your finished basement dry.Again these pipe drain on my property right into the Wetlands on my property.You never took out a permit... When you put your shed on Wetlands. You never took out a permitwhen you installed your fence on wetlands.You never got a permit when you installed your Sub-pump pipe draining into your pond.You never had your land surveyed and you installed your fence on my property. You pulled my flowers and shrubs out of my garden thinking it was your property . You have on your property a horse trailer,black truck, boat with trailer, small wood trailer, Ford explorier ,white Volvo,black corvette, and you only have a 2 card garage. You can only have 3 registered vehicles on your property. Wednesday night Wetlands meeting, your husband handed the board members a copies of the laws on Wetlands ,I guess you did not read them?
Loretta pozvek November 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Lisa Gangnath....Are you kidding me!!!!! I just looked at the artricle from the monroe courier dated Nov 6th...She is staing how she will make sure that Contractors and PROPERTY OWNERS...go by the rules for permits and Zoning Laws...DebraLee hovey has refused to let the town in her Basement to see if its finished..(no permit)..Fence put up ..(No permit)...Shed (no Permit)....and she is going to enforce this One the Public and Contractors when She has NOT done it herself....I wish this all Came out Earlier for the Residents...Its Appalling...Shameful...and she should be held accountable
Django November 17, 2012 at 04:27 AM
When will Monroe wake up and stop putting the same people in office. Our town is a wasteland of poor leadership and every year the same people are put into office. When will the vicious cycle stop?
JLAW November 20, 2012 at 11:56 PM
All you people need to get a life and grow up!


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