The borough's $75,000 door

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:28

Milford - A red entry door on the unimposing, but historic shop at 202, Fourth Street, gained great value recently. The borough’s insurance carrier has agreed to end litigation over a historic district ordinance violation by making a $75,000 settlement to its owner. Milford Borough earlier this month agreed to the settlement with businessman Gary Shelto. Shelto has been involved in a dispute with the Borough over the security door which he installed on his property located on Fourth Street in the Historic District. Shelto received his check April 3. According to Shelto’s attorney, following installation of both replacement windows and a door, Shelto was cited with violating the Milford Historic District Ordinance, which carried a fine at a rate of $300 per day. The fines, had they been collected, accumulated to a total of $72,000. Shelto claimed that there was no violation and that the improvements to his property were within the guidelines established by the ordinance. Shelto also claimed that the ARB was illegally constituted, improperly staffed and therefore the Borough Council had no authority to take any actions against him. The Borough Council subsequently rescinded its violation notice against Shelto. He claims he took civil action after the borough refused to honor a 2004 agreement awarding him $30,000 in damages. The settlement ended that civil action. In a statement to the Courier, the Borough Council claimed the insurance company decision to settle was expedience, against matching $200,000 which it alleges Shelto has spent in attorney’s fees. “Therefore, neither the Borough nor any of its officials will respond to Mr. Shelto’s news release about the settlement of his lawsuit against them other then to state that they disagree with much of it. The lion’s share of the people that have property in the Borough comply with its rules and ordinances and do so every day,” the statement said. “The fact that Mr. Shelto finally has applied for and received his zoning and architectural ordinance permits for his business as part of the settlement is all that the Borough ever wanted in the first place,” the council added. “The extremely few property owners and professionals who ignore the Borough’s laws or don’t want those laws to apply to them are the only people that the public hears about unless they come to meetings and actually see the process work,” the borough statement concluded.