Building Inspector Leaves Town Post

Embattled Richard Mavro Strikes Deal with Oak Bluffs Selectmen to Depart; Details Have Not Been Released

By RACHEL KOVAC

The town of Oak Bluffs will soon be looking for a new building inspector. After a 16-year tenure, embattled building inspector Richard Mavro has reached an agreement with the town and has left the position.

Selectmen announced the decision at a meeting last month, although the details of the agreement are still not known. Selectman and board chairman Gregory Coogan said only that the town is now in a position to look for and hire a new building inspector.

"The building inspector's job is officially open," Mr. Coogan said at the meeting. "We have reached an agreement with the former building inspector."

Mr. Mavro and his decisions have been under close scrutiny for the past year. He took a medical leave of absence on March 18 and entered into discussions with town officials on taking either a regular or medical retirement. The building inspector, who began working for the town in 1989, was in the middle of a three-year appointment that expired next April.

Over the past year Mr. Mavro has been criticized for his performance on more than one occasion. Over the winter the old Army Barracks, a historic building on Circuit avenue, was demolished with no permit.

Since the demolition, reconstruction of the building at 45 Circuit avenue has been closely monitored by selectmen and the town historic commission. Owner Gene Erez has reported to selectmen on a regular basis.

Mr. Mavro's most controversial case - the illegal Moujabber garage on the North Bluff - is still mired in a tangle of court and town proceedings. Originally permitted as a small addition, the three-story garage was built in open violation of the town zoning bylaws.

Under pressure from all sides, Mr. Mavro finally ordered the demolition of the three-story garage in December. Garage owner Joseph Moujabber has appealed the decision in two separate courts. Town leaders have vowed to fight the issue to the end.

"The town will continue to defend the decision to order the demolition of the building," selectman Michael Dutton said last week.

Recently the neighbors of a Dempster Park property hired a Boston lawyer to challenge Mr. Mavro's decision on another garage project that appeared to be larger than originally permitted.

The original plans for the construction at 7 Dempster Park, owned by Leslie Hayling, show a garage and bath house with no construction above the garage area. In a note to the building inspector Jay Whiting, the contractor for the property, asked Mr. Mavro to sign off on the plans so that the foundations and framing can be started. "The garage and pool house have no bedrooms or kitchen but both buildings are to have bathrooms," the note said. Revisions filed in February of 2005 show a garage with a living space above consisting of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, two decks and a living area.

The original permit submitted to the building inspector was ruled incomplete on Dec. 23, 2003 because of septic issues. Mr. Mavro signed off on the design plans for the bath house and garage the next day.

Some residents in the area believe that another garage structure has blossomed into living space. Four Dempster Park residents have hired an attorney to appeal Mr. Mavro's decisions.

Mr. Mavro is no stranger to controversy. Back in 2000, his actions aroused the attention of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) when he granted a building permit to allow the expansion of the Wesley Hotel, even though the DEP rulings prohibited any additional sewage flow from the hotel.

Aquinnah building inspector Jerry Weiner has been named acting building inspector in Oak Bluffs.

The selectmen have not set a timetable for appointing a permanent replacement for Mr. Mavro.