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A Feud Between Fan Hill Road Neighbors

Lisa Gangnath has been battling with neighbors, State Rep. DebraLee Hovey and her husband Paul Balsano, for years.

Editor's Note: This story has been edited. Patti Campbell fought with Hovey and Balsano over their basement improvements two years ago, then over a scarecrow on a toilet — not Lisa Gangnath. Gangnath filed the Inland Wetlands complaint and Campbell attended Wednesday night's meeting to support her fight against Hovey and Balsano.

State Rep. DebraLee Hovey (R-112th) and her husband have been fighting with their Fan Hill Road neighbors for years. Two years ago, Patti Campbell filed a complaint claiming Hovey had finished her basement with a full bathroom at her ranch-style house without the proper permits. Hovey was running for reelection at the time and town Democrats jumped on it.

After Hovey won easily, she and her husband Paul Balsano placed a large sign on their front lawn thanking voters for their support — with a scarecrow wearing a mask from the slasher movie "Scream" sitting on a toilet beside it. Campbell, who said she felt threatened, filed a police report. Hovey countered that Campbell had bullied her for years.

Now Hovey and her neighbors are at it again. This time, Lisa Gangnath, whose mother lives next door to them, lodged an Inland Wetlands complaint against Hovey and Balsano, who also filed a complaint against her.

Hovey was in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, so Balsano and Gangnath squared off at an Inland Wetlands Commission meeting that night.

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Balsano accused Gangnath of ripping out grass in a one-foot-by-six-foot area around his pond, making it unstable. He wants her to restore the grass buffer.

Gangnath contends the grass was actually on her property. Her husband, Phil, said Gangnath is allergic to the ornamental grass Hovey had planted.

"She gets hives near that," Phil Gangnath said. "We replaced it with wood chips and did the same amount of plantings."

Lisa Gangnath filed a complaint against Hovey and Balsano, accusing the couple of using pipes to drain the pond into the wetlands to protect their basement from flooding and building a fence and a shed close to the wetlands without permits.

Balsano admitted to having installed the pipes and said he built the shed 14 years ago. Balsano also contends that the shed and a decorative fence on his property are not close to the wetlands.

Buffer Around the Pond

Inland Wetlands Chairman Jeremy Hayden had asked Lisa Gangnath if she would agree to replant the ornamental grass buffer in the small area around the pond.

"Absolutely not," Gangnath replied. "I have a buffer. I'm not trying to be unreasonable. There's no runoff and I'm constantly being hassled and hassled and hassled."

Hayden wondered about the willingness of the neighbors to work together toward a mutual agreement.

Gangnath said, "That would be nice. But no."

Town Engineer Scott Schatzlein said it's up to the Inland Wetlands Commission to decide if what Gangnath did constitutes gardening or if it is a wetlands violation.

Schatzlein said, "The question is whether the area is a buffer that shouldn't be disturbed."

Hayden said the commission doesn't want wood chips going into the pond.

Commissioners visited the property before Hurricane Sandy, but had different conclusions. Cathy Kohut said the disturbed buffer area did not look stable, while Hayden and Michael Muttitt thought it did look stable.

Because a hurricane had hit the region since the inspections, Dan Hunsberger suggested that he and fellow commissioners walk the property again with the owners' permission to see how the buffer is now.

Nobody had a problem with another site visit.

Draining the Pond

Gangnath said the number one issue is the pipes draining water from the pond. She said Balsano told her he had no idea where the pipes were, adding she eventually found plastic pipes draining water onto her property.

"I do not want him draining any water on my property," she said. "I was never asked. My mother was never asked. He just secretly drained it to keep his basement dry."

Gangnath also accused Hovey and Balsano of building a fence without a permit.

"She's a state rep. She should know the rules," Gangnath said of Hovey.

Balsano said, "The pipes have always been at the top of the pond, so it wouldn't overflow. Someone filled it with rocks and sticks. I called the police when that happened."

When the water reaches a certain level, Balsano said the pipes take it back to the wetlands. "You're welcome to see it," he added.

Gangnath said, "He put the drains in. I saw it. And he changed the property. It used to be wet, now my mother's property is dry."

Hunsberger noted that even without the pipes, the water would continue to flow into the wetlands because of the slope of the property. But Gangnath did not care. She said she would rather the water flow naturally than by piping on her property.

The commission decided to revisit the pipe issue at its next meeting and it unanimously decided that Balsano should file agent applications for permit approvals for his shed and decorative fence.

An agent application is decided administratively, rather than by a commission hearing. Once there is an approval, Schatzlein said the applicant must publish the decision in the newspaper so anyone who opposes it would have the opportunity to petition it to a public hearing — though he said that's rare.

Gerald M. Gaynor November 15, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Makes you glad to have good neighbors doesn't it?
Tman November 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Even if I had extra Damns I would not give one
john seldon November 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM
How did this town re-elect Hovey? She still has not let anyone see her finished basement. Why does she let officials tour her property but not her basement?
Donna Gail November 15, 2012 at 01:51 PM
There are so many people (i.e. voters) who think Rep. Hovey is such an angel. I have seen her in several situations where her true self has come out. She and her hot-head husband seem to think there are different rules for them (actually, no rules). Balsano says he built his shed 14 years ago, as if that means he didn't need a permit for it. Don't forget they finished their basement without declaring it and refused to let the Town tax assessor enter their home. And Hovey was quoted as calling her house a "s---hole." At least it sounds like Inland Wetlands is trying to handle this in a non-political manner.
Lisa Gangnath November 15, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I need to explain and did not want this story to be printed until after the election was over . I would not allow DebraLee Hovey again to use her "Get out of Jail Card" and say this was a political ploy because of the up coming elections.Several weeks ago I was working in my flower bed along my drive way when I found DebraLee Hovey invisible dog fence wire in my flower bed beared in the dirt . Now let me back up 2 years ago Paul Balsano had put up his privacy fence ,So I found the dog wire on my side of fence in my flower bed. I called my husband and told him what I had found . My husband Philip Ganganth informed me that we need to have the land surveyed so I scheduled appointment to have my land surveyed. I was brought home from the hospital when i was born to this house and property I know where my property is by the trees and my mother showing me . I today am 50 years old ,I know where my property is !!!! Meanwhile I continue planting flower and shrubs along the driveway and put wood chips down .I do most of the yard work on this poroperty at end of summer and early fall because my home right now is in Trumbull where I live. Sept16 Mr balsano started yelling at while he was cutting his lawn and pointing to a metal stack on the yard .
Lisa Gangnath November 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Few Minutes later DebraLee Hovey comes running over to me Yelling saying "Why Do I Always Have to Come over Here Pissing OF My Husband " and pulling out my flowers and shrubsand throwing them in my driveway I inturn said "Deb what The Hell I am Calling the Cops and she Said I am Calling First " So the police come and say until the land is surveyed and you can prove its your land dont go near your property lines . Well on Monday the land was surveyed and I was on my property as I know But HAD A LOT MORE LAND then I thought .So the privacy fence that Mr Balsano had installed to years ago plus the dog invisible fence are all on my property . To this day the Hoveys havd not moved either fences or have they apologized for there mistake . The only thing they have done is harassed me ! Mr Balsano on Sept 22 followed me to my home Harassing me tell the Police that "I was White Trash And He Needed to Know Where White Trash Lived !" So this is our State Rep DebraLee Hovey's husband behaving in this manner . I have 3 police reports 2 in monroe and 1 in Trumbull plus I have camera's and security lights all on my property documenting all of these action . got to go to work will finish my story but you need to know trulth .
Longtime Monroeite November 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM
The Have proof of Hovey and her husband trespassing on her property and there is also a trumbull police report of him stalking her to her trumbull home..The cops came..Hoveys husband stated that "He wanted to see where white Trash lived"..They have done NOTHING but Hurt Mrs Gangnath with every Breath they Take...Its a Terrible way People get away with things because of who they know or who they are in Town..Like A STATE REP....Besides...he also has more then 3 registered vehicles on his Property in plain sight...Thats a Violation!!!!!
College student November 15, 2012 at 03:49 PM
It so sad, for school we have to look up articles that talk about the community we come from. I found this article And showed some fellow peers who happen to be studying abroad from asia They commented with " man I really that American was different, but I guess everywhere has government people you can not trust". Sad to she that Hoovey was the example they saw for our gov.
Karen G. French November 15, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Republicans have always had different rules for themselves. That's why they lost. Maybe people will finally wake up now that the elections are over. What part of "EQUAL rights under the law," do they not understand.
Alex November 15, 2012 at 04:00 PM
"Gangnath, who said she felt threatened, filed a police report." Sigh...enough with these baseless "I feel threaten" complaints. A scare crow sitting on a toilet is not a threat. Its a waste of police resources. Settle your childish disputes like normal people.
James Wadsworth November 15, 2012 at 04:59 PM
The Republican's control all boards and commissions in Monroe and seem to think they are invincible. Just another in a long list of embarrassments sported by Monroe.
loretta kandrot November 15, 2012 at 05:04 PM
@ Alex the threatened person is patti campbell ..and thge toilet article is from 2010
Christine E. November 15, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Nothing like a bunch of grown adults acting like big babies. I would expect better from our elected officials, but that's a tall order in Monroe.
Philip Gangnath November 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
When a person (Mr. Balsano) follows your wife from Monroe to Trumbull thats when it changes from childish to a threat. This is when the Trumbull Police became involved and Mr. Balsono was pulled over. He then proceeded to state that he was lost. Only after further questioning by the officers did he reveal his true intentions that "She is white trash and I wanted to see where white trash lives." This incident took it to another level where I was forced to become involved. A childish dispute is one thing but a threatening gestures or actions against your family is a situation that cannot be taken lightly. Alex I hope you would do the same for your own family when faced with a situation like this.
dolphinlover November 15, 2012 at 08:29 PM
go on The People's Court
Philip Gangnath November 15, 2012 at 09:23 PM
When a person (Mr. Balsano) follows your wife from Monroe to Trumbull thats when it changes from childish to a threat. This is when the Trumbull Police became involved and Mr. Balsono was pulled over. He then proceeded to state that he was lost. Only after further questioning by the officers did he reveal his true intentions that "She is white trash and I wanted to see where white trash lives." This incident took it to another level where I was forced to become involved. A childish dispute is one thing but a threatening gestures or actions against your family is a situation that cannot be taken lightly. Alex I hope you would do the same for your own family when faced with a situation like this.
Bill Bittar (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Just added a correction. Patti Campbell fought over the basement and the scarecrow. Gangnath is fighting over the wetlands, though Campbell attended the meeting to support her.
jim laguardia November 15, 2012 at 10:48 PM
That kind of changes the whole story....
James Wadsworth November 15, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Two different neighbors having similar problems with Hovey and her husband. Looks like a pattern here. Wonder why this story came out after the election?
MJ November 16, 2012 at 01:18 AM
I can't even imagine the BS this woman/family has had to endure and yet Hovey hides behind her political place. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck...Shame on them for trying to go above the law and making their neighbors lives miserable. I adore my neighbors, we look out for each other and that is how it should be.
Lisa Gangnath November 16, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Really Zoo..So Sorry tried to delete and correct but could not ." People in glass houses should not throw stones anyway". Honestly, I just want to be left alone by the Hovey's not followed or harassed by Hovey's, I want Hovey’s to remove their fences off my Property .I want the Hovey’s to removed the Pipes that they have installed on my property without permission draining into the Wetlands again on my property ! Also I would really like to apologize to the Wetlands’ board it got really crazy last night, So very sorry. But I would also like to say that we all make mistakes but just apologize and learn the rules and the Laws and follow them just like everyone else.
Oldblooeyz November 16, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Take em to court and make them move the fence AND restore your property. Entitled jerks! They are the trashy kind of people who will grab whatever they can. I've voted for DLH as long as she's run, but not any more, this really tells you what kind of person she is!
Gerald M. Gaynor November 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM
These two families ought to grow up. If they have a legal dispute bring it to Court have a judge determine who is in the right and put an end to it. What a stupid, petty, ongoing debacle to be reported on. This is starting to make the town look as attractive as the "Two cops hurt by pigs" or the "Something Extra Happy Meals" stories did. Arguing your case here on the Patch isn’t going to do anything except make you look like a whiner in need of an intervention.
Poz November 16, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Zoo...you act like this whole thing is childish...yet you continue to read the comments and post...Id say it caught your attention..and no one has the right to follow , threaten and harass....I hope no one treats your children or family Lisa Gangnath has been treated..
Philip Gangnath November 16, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Oldblooeyz, Mr. Balsano stated during the wetland meeting that he would remove not only the fence but the pipes that were placed on Mrs.Carr's property. He also agreed to get permits for both. This will be a test of his integrity which so far has been questionable.
Donna Gail November 16, 2012 at 05:15 PM
eh she will probably not run again because she has now been in the spot long enough to receive free medical coverage for the rest of her life. If this story had come out before the election, it would have just been blamed on the democrats again like last time. You should know by now: if DLH gets caught doing anything wrong, she & her cronies say it's the democrats' fault and they are just being political.
Lisa Gangnath November 16, 2012 at 08:43 PM
DebLee Hovey Stated in the Monroe Couier on Nov 6th."Some of her Goals in the new term will be to pass legislation to hold contractors and wellas property owners accountable for seruring and following zoning Permits.But you never took out a permit when you drained your pond to add your draining pipes to keep your finished basement dry.Again these pipe drain on my property right into the Wetlands on my property.You never took out a permit... When you put your shed on Wetlands. You never took out a permitwhen you installed your fence on wetlands.You never got a permit when you installed your Sub-pump pipe draining into your pond.You never had your land surveyed and you installed your fence on my property. You pulled my flowers and shrubs out of my garden thinking it was your property . You have on your property a horse trailer,black truck, boat with trailer, small wood trailer, Ford explorier ,white Volvo,black corvette, and you only have a 2 card garage. You can only have 3 registered vehicles on your property. Wednesday night Wetlands meeting, your husband handed the board members a copies of the laws on Wetlands ,I guess you did not read them?
Loretta pozvek November 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Lisa Gangnath....Are you kidding me!!!!! I just looked at the artricle from the monroe courier dated Nov 6th...She is staing how she will make sure that Contractors and PROPERTY OWNERS...go by the rules for permits and Zoning Laws...DebraLee hovey has refused to let the town in her Basement to see if its finished..(no permit)..Fence put up ..(No permit)...Shed (no Permit)....and she is going to enforce this One the Public and Contractors when She has NOT done it herself....I wish this all Came out Earlier for the Residents...Its Appalling...Shameful...and she should be held accountable
Django November 17, 2012 at 04:27 AM
When will Monroe wake up and stop putting the same people in office. Our town is a wasteland of poor leadership and every year the same people are put into office. When will the vicious cycle stop?
JLAW November 20, 2012 at 11:56 PM
All you people need to get a life and grow up!

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