Claims of illegal campers pop up in Preston

PRESTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Claims that people are illegally living year-round in campers are popping up in Preston.

Terry Henderson says his daughter and son-in-law use a camper for recreational use, so to speak, but his next door neighbor says they’re living there full-time.

Their names are on the outside of the camper but Henderson says his daughter and her husband only stay in the camper when they want some privacy.

Where do they live if they don’t live there? “They live in my house,” Henderson said.

His next door neighbor begs to differ. He claims the couple has been living in the camper full-time for more than a year, which violates zoning laws. Full-time use is only allowed two weeks a year.

“I let them go in there two or three times a week,” Henderson said.

“This is what we’ve heard – that ‘s just for pleasure or whatever,” said Lynne Whitney. “Not true.”

Whitney says you can see from what is outside the camper what is going on inside and she wants the town to take action. Unlike an apartment, the town doesn’t get the taxes it would for a year-round residence.

“If one and four, five, six people start getting away with it,” Whitney said, “it’s going to be more and more and more.”

Last year, Henderson received a cease and desist order and he got another one this year.

“They write back and say no, where we’re not living it and it becomes a case of proving it,” Preston First Selectman Bob Congdon said.

Congdon says it is hard to prove without intruding on privacy but he also has to consider the next door neighbor’s concerns.

“I think they’re harassing me,” Henderson said.

The first selectman tells us he did ask other towns if they have the same situation where people may be living in campers and he says was told yes they do but like Preston it’s hard to tell or prove either way.

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