Webster campground deemed unsafe, families given days to vacate homes

WEBSTER, Mass. — The residents at a Webster campground were given 48 hours to vacate their homes after a judge ruled the property uninhabitable. Their deadline was Wednesday.

”I’ve been on the Section-8 waitlist for six and a half years with autistic sons, and as of Sunday, I’m going to be living in my car with my sons,” says Dawn Elfman.

She and her three sons, the youngest 5 years old, have lived at the Webster Family Campground since June.

But on Monday more than a dozen families were told they’d have to leave the campground after a judge deemed the property unsafe.

”I live here perfectly safe with my three sons and there has never been an issue where it’s been unclean or unsafe,” says Elfman.

The town of Webster brought the issue to court after they say the state health department found numerous violations including raw sewage, lack of hot water and excessive debris.

”The town can’t really, with any credibility, say we didn’t know that these health and other violations didn’t exist,” says Town administrator Richard LaMond.

Campsite owner Michael Finamore was ordered to find the year-round residents a place to live within 48 hours of the judges decision and address the violations, which he disputes.

“What business is it of the town of Webster on how these people want to live? They’re not complaining to the town that they have unhealthy conditions here,” says Finemore.

LaMond says the judge visited the campsite himself and described the conditions as horrific. He says Finemore has been in violation of the health code and zoning laws in town for more than a decade but the town never acted on it.

“I don’t know why the town has not pursued these to its fullest extent in years past, but when these were brought to my attention I simply couldn’t ignore them,” says LaMond.

Danielle White, who lives in the campground, says her son has homecoming this weekend but instead they are wondering if he’ll be able to even stay in the school district.

”We always said, no matter what happens, we’ll have a roof over our head. Well, that doesn’t mean jack squat when you have no where to put your home now,” says White.

Finemore says that he plans to appeal this decision in Worcester Housing court on Friday morning.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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