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A Hummel Report Investigation

A Second Dwelling

A Somerset selectman is facing questions about a barn/storage shed on his property that was converted into an apartment for his father-in-law. Is it legal and is it being taxed properly? It's an issue that strikes a nerve in a community where tax bills are increasing by double digits this year. Jim Hummel talks with the selectman - who is up for re-election next  week - for his take on the situation.

SCRIPT

With a three-year term under his belt, Somerset Selectman Arastou Mahjoory is running for re-election -at a time when the board faces serious financial challenges and property owners have seen a double-digit tax increase.
But Mahjoory is facing questions about his own taxes - and the piece of property where he lives: 497 Chace Street. Mahjoory lives with his wife and four children in a 2,600-square-foot house at the front of the one-acre parcel.
But it's a detached 1,470-square-foot structure his father-in-law lives in, set off the road, that had several people contacting the Hummel Report earlier this springĀ  - questioning the use - and the assessment.
We've learned the former shed was classified by the town's tax assessor as a barn in a revaluation done in 2001. Aerial photos taken last week give a better indication of its size compared to the main house. The former barn, see here with brown roof shingles, is assessed at $17,500. The entire property is currently valued at $308,500.
While the property is actually owned by Mahjoory's father-in-law, the selectman says he pays the taxes on it.
So we asked Mahjoory about the second building after a board meeting last month.
Hummel: ``Do you live in that building? ''
Mahjoory: ``I do not live in that building.''
Hummel: ``Does anybody live in that building?''
Mahjoory: ``I do not live in that building.''
Hummel: ``Who does?''
Mahjoory: ``My father-in-law lives in that building.''
Hummel: ``Okay.''

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