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Chang family farm homes in Amherst, Hadley cited for violations

Chang family farm homes in Amherst, Hadley cited for violations

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
by Diane Lederman
The Springfield Republican
This house at 23 Sugarloaf St., Deerfield, which once housed by the Chang family that once housed farmworkers in Deerfield has been demolished
AMHERST – After about 20 people were displaced from two homes owned by Chang Family Trust of Amherst – and one of the homes was demolished – all but one family has been relocated to new apartments. 
A hearing on the case has been scheduled Oct. 10 in Housing Court in Springfield, said Jennifer Dieringer, an attorney with Community Legal Aid representing most of the families displaced. The families work for Chang Family Trust at the Chang Farm. 
At a hearing in Greenfield last month, Housing Court Associate Justice Robert G. Fields allowed the home on 23 Sugarloaf St. in Deerfield to be razed. 
Dieringer said a hearing to determine whether the 299 River Road home in Whately will be saved or razed has not been scheduled. 
State and local officials in August found that neither home was fit for habitation. 
Health officials in Amherst and Hadley, meanwhile, inspected three other properties the family own and found no violations warranting condemnation. 
Hadley Building Inspector Timothy Neyhart said state officials were pleasantly surprised by the condition of the 90 Mt. Warner Home. He said the back deck was in bad shape and lacked stairs. That deck was the second means of egress. 
Neyhart said that Sidney Chang, who manages the family’s bean sprout farm operations with Chang & Son Enterprises Inc. on River Road in Whately, said he would see that the deck was repaired. 
Neyhart said he did not know how many people lived at the house. He said the Fire Department found only minor violations. 
Amherst Health Department Director Julie Federman found the house at 27 Chesterfield Drive in Amherst to have a series of violations, including no handrails on the back or front stairways or to the cellar, ceiling damage in a bathroom and others. 
At the 60 Main St. house, she found the outside stairway was loose, there was a rotted second floor landing inside, as well as uncovered electrical boxes in the attic, and a missing railing in an inside stairway, among violations there. None of the violations needed immediate attention. 
The Chang family is expected to make a good faith effort to “substantially correct” all violations within 30 days of Sept. 17, the date of letters sent to Tso-Cheng Chang, listed as the property owner. 
Amherst lawyer Lawrence Farber, who represents the Chang Family Trust, could not be reached for comment. ▪
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