Hanover Seizes David Vincelette’s Mink Brook Parcel

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/1/2017 12:01:17 AM
Modified: 8/1/2017 8:40:04 PM

Hanover — Municipal officials have seized for unpaid taxes a property belonging to a resident who has been engaged in a long-running feud with the town, raising the possibility that the parcel will be added to an adjoining recreational area but also leaving uncertain the fate of several people living on the land.

David Vincelette, owner of three adjacent parcels above Mink Brook with Lebanon Street addresses — 91, 93 and 95 — has been feuding with the town over his allegations that Hanover has been polluting the nearby brook and also over his accumulation of debris that has spilled past his land on to a public recreational trail.

For lack of payment on a $3,000 bill from 2014, the town last week took ownership of Vincelette’s parcel at 91 Lebanon St., where he says five people, some formerly homeless, are living in a 990-square-foot camp-style building.

Derek Dube, originally of Fall River, Mass., said he would have to go “into the woods” if he were forced off Vincelette’s land.

“I’m kind of in dire straits, as it were,” he said in an interview Monday — adding, however, that he was working to find a job and put himself back on his feet financially.

Hanover officials also took two other Vincelette properties for nonpayment of taxes: 15 Moose Mountain Road, a 0.28-acre parcel with a small cabin, and 35 Old Dana Road, 0.6 acres of open land.

Town Manager Julia Griffin last week said Vincelette and his tenants would have a grace period to remove their possessions from the property. Vincelette lives next door, in another house at 93 Lebanon St.

After that, town officials will move in and take physical possession of the land. Griffin said Hanover may consider selling the property to the Hanover Conservancy, which owns the nearby Mink Brook Nature Preserve. The town itself owns the surrounding Tanzi Natural Area, a recreational preserve.

The conservancy’s executive director, Adair Mulligan, on Monday said she hadn’t been notified of the potential sale and declined to comment on the group’s plans without speaking to her board of directors.

In the past, the Hanover Conservancy has offered to buy Vincelette out of his Mink Brook land, where he has lived since the 1990s; Vincelette, however, has refused to sell.

The 61-year-old former National Guardsman has been in and out of court for years, both to accuse town officials of pollution and to respond to charges stemming from the overflow of his possessions — wood pallets, metal scrap and used cars — onto the town-owned Tanzi trail.

A judge in 2011 dismissed a suit from Vincelette over his pollution allegations — he says Hanover officials are contaminating public waters by dumping crushed asphalt they use to shore up roads — saying he had not proven there was a risk for “immediate harm” to the water quality at his home.

Vincelette was in Lebanon District Court as recently as Monday, when he appeared to answer a charge of improper use of the 9-1-1 system. Since this winter, he has been calling emergency services to allege that a fence constructed by town officials to keep his possessions from the Tanzi tract is trapping him on his property.

Meanwhile, the tax seizure may mean homelessness for some of Vincelette’s friends who are living in the camp building at 91 Lebanon St.

Dube and Clay McAllister, another friend of Vincelette’s who lives there, estimated that at least four others would have difficulty finding shelter. Vincelette said several more people moved off the property during the winter, when he lacked running water — owing, he said, to the fence, which he said prevented him from fixing a pump.

Asked about the fate of Vincelette's tenants, Griffin noted that the town has a welfare assistance program.

"We can work to help anyone who applies for welfare assistance with the town," she said. "That requires the completion of a welfare application."

Vincelette last week said that his friends would “keep living right here” and predicted that the town would have to file eviction notices to remove them, triggering another court battle.

“If necessary they’ll camp out on my property,” he added, referring to his abutting land.

“We’re survivors,” Dube said.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at rwolfe@vnews.com or at 603-727-3242.


The town of Hanover owns the Tanzi Natural Area, a recreational preserve located near Mink Brook, and the Hanover Conservancy owns the nearby Mink Brook Nature Preserve. An earlier version of this story gave the wrong owner for the Tanzi tract.

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