Land Court Orders Demolition Of Marblehead Dream Home

By Bill Shields, WBZ-TV

MARBLEHEAD (CBS) – Wayne Johnson’s dream house has come to the end of the road. The Land Court has ordered that it been torn down.

“It’s been real emotional, I can say that for sure,” says Johnson.

Back in the mid-90’s, Johnson thought he got all the permits squared away, to build a home in Marblehead. But according to the attorney for one of his neighbors, Johnson told everyone he was going to build a “bachelor bungalow”.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

But what went up was a three-story home, that blocked the view of his neighbors.

Johnson claims the Building Commissioner and the Zoning Board approved his plans for the site. But the Land Court disagreed.

Frank McElroy is an attorney for one of the neighbors, and said Thursday, “The Building Commissioner never approved this project and subdividing the property was illegal.”

Johnson says he thought he was doing everything by the book. “I guess an honest mistake was made by the Zoning Board,” he says. “But now, I’ll have to pay the price.”

And the price is this: Tear the home down by February 17.

More from Bill Shields
  • Frank L. McElroy

    Thanks Bill. Even handed and straight up as always. Frank L. McElroy

    • Wayne H. Johnson

      I have a letter dated May 1,1995 from the Marblehead Building Commissioner to Frank McElroy refuting McElroys statement in Bill Shields story that Wayne Johnson did not have permission from the Marblehead Building Commisioner to build a home. The same home that McElroy has fought for 16 years to tear down. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the letter stating that I had a legal buildable lot, please send me your e-mail address and I will forward you a copy of the Building Commissioners letter to McElroy.

      • Wayne H. Johnson

        The e-mail address for a copy of the above letter written by Marblehead Building Commissioner is . The letter fully details the granting of permission for the construction of a home on which the Building Commissioner stated was a legal buildable lot.

  • Sandy

    All it takes is one or two people to ruin it for someone else. Ya make him tear down the whole house, instead of taking down one story. People just don’t care if they cause trouble for the other person, do they have to pay and then lose all the money involved to build this home. Life would be so much easier if we lived in the early 1900’s, where you didn’t have to get permission to do what you want on your own property . So much for united we stand.

  • Realist

    To sum this story up… a neighbor doesn’t want you to block their view, ever, and will take every measure possible to prevent you from doing so. Obviously you need to get permits to build. While this home may get torn down, I’m certain that the spite created from this action will get a rebuilt by-the-book home that is specifically intended to block the neighbors view. Merry Christmas!

  • donny

    Bravo, Mr. McElroy!

    Thanks for sharing your view of this story. Unfortunately, as evident by comments here, for many, the dumbed-down, bumper-sticker version of life’s realities is how they choose to form opinions on this and all matters… Obviously Mr. Johnson is no more a poor victim than a person mauled after jumping in a lion’s cage covered in BBQ sauce!

    And we wonder why our political discourse/leaders have devolved to sound bites?…

  • gramps

    & now you know, ‘The rest of the story”………


  • Merry Christmas

    I hope this means the end of McElroy’s diatribes. What is now so clear in hind sight for McElroy was unfortunately not so clear for Johnson or the town of Marblehead. Johnson has stated that he attempted to explain what he was doing with his land to the new neighbors (the Schey’s) who literally slammed the door in his face. Johnson acted on a building permit that was granted by the town, and won two appeals conducted at the town zoning board level. McElroy advised to continue to push (and pad his pockets) to the next appellate opportunity at the state level, and the state court’s thoughts on this situation are evident. Marblehead is filled with non-conforming lots, and I am sure more wasteful law suits will follow the precedent that McElroy has now set. McElroy’s gloating in this forum makes me ill. I am sure all will eventually get what they deserve. Thankfully the judge overruled McElroy and the Schey’s wish to have the house torn down before Christmas. Mr. Johnson, my prayers are with you.

  • fred

    Why would Mr Johnson be so dumb as to proceed with building this home when he was aware of what may happen through the courts. To paraphrase a line from the movie Airplane “He bought his ticket, he knew what he was getting into, I say let him crash”. Never feel sorry for a dope.

    • Wayne H. Johnson


      What would you have done if you had been granted approvals to build a home on what the Town of Marbleheads Building IBuilding Commsioner, the Marbleheald Zoning Board of Approvals twice approved. The construction on the what they said was a legal buildable lot and the proposed building met all the zoning codes for the Town of Marblehead.

  • Joe

    I can tell you for certain that anyone saying that permits are issued without approval of the construction drawings and site plans is a liar. What happens ather the 16th if its not torn down? That may have been a useful tidbit to this story because I can tell you that I would not be leaving if I were Mr. Johnson.

  • joe


  • V. Shan

    Today it’s Johnson’s home. Tomorrow it’s yours. Communism, its ugly no matter the view.

  • Bunny

    I hope that Mr. Johnson finds a way to keep his house.
    Dr and Mrs. Crotchety Jerk are just that…JERKS. Mr. Johnson had did all the right things. Dr Crotchety Jerk just wants the property.
    If the house has to be torn down, I hope you find a way to build on the land. If it were me, after I got it built, I would Section 8 the house. Wouldn’t that just give Dr Crotchety Jerk a case of the hemorrhoids!

  • j4bs4209333

    I don’t see how the town could have issued him an occupancy permit if the building was illegal. They obviously signed off on the permits, why was he allowed to build the house in the first place? I think it’s very sad and very petty that 2 people in their mid 80’s have spent the past 16 years fighting this man in court to force him to tear down his home. In their 80’s how many more days do they have left to view the ocean? To waste 16 years worth of legal fees and 16 years worth of letting it bother you is really sad. They must be the most miserable people ever. I could understand someone doing this if they were jealous of the million dollar home, but the assessed value of the miserable neighbor’s home is a considerable amount more than Johnson’s. If I were Mr. Johnson I would hire a professional tree company to uproot and replant the tallest full grown trees possible and I would line my entire property with them just to spite the miserable neighbors. It would serve them right.

  • Janelle

    Please don’t tear down your home!!! There was a case a few months ago where an elderly woman was evicted from her home as well as her daughter (she was 100-something and her daughter 80 something). When the sheriff came to evict them, they did not have the heart to do that to the elderly women, even though the courts had ordered them to do so. I know it’s a different situation, but maybe someone involved in this will have some compassion and be able to help.

    • Wayne H. Johnson


      The Town of Marblehead’s Zoning Board of Appeals has the authority to grant a Special Permit that will make this lot width legal and save the home from being torn down on February 17th. Granting of Special Permits for various Zoning Code Violations in Marblehead happens on an average of 10 a year over the past 9 years.

      Why is Johnson singled out when he followed all the towns directions and received the necessary approvals an two appovals by the Marblehead Zoning Board to build the house. The complaining neighbor reguested a TRO from Land
      Court Judge Cauchon who denied their request. The only record available on that hearing is that it was denied. There is nothing documented about Johnson being warned by Judge Cauchon ” that he proceeded at his own peril.” What sense does that make for a Judge to deny the TRO and then to allegedly make a warning that Johnson proceeds at his own risk. Either it was denied or it wasn’t. The Decision of the Trial Court Judge had no evidence of an alleged warning.



  • Jay McLean

    Shame on the town, the neighbors, the politicians, all involved in this despicable ruling. I usually mind my own business, but in this case I cannot hold my tongue. Remeber this, KARMA can be good and it can be bad. To the nieghbors who got this house approved to be torn down…may you rest your wonderful, kind, considerate minds on your pillows at night and sleep well. I pray that I am around the when your KARMA comes to get you, and all involved in this horrific story. I also pray that I hear about your Karma’s story…and I will spread it around the net like wildfire. Also, to the nitiwits who agreed to let these breathing beasts of neighbors allow this to happen…you are all a disgrace to the human race. I do not wish anyone harm, but I await the Karma that awaits each and every one of you who had a hand in having this house torn down.

  • Shameful Neighbors

    It’s February 18 and there is no follow up on the story……what is the status?

  • Marblehead To Demolish Dream Home After Lengthy Dispute « CBS Boston

    […] judge ruled in December that Wayne Johnson’s dream house must be torn down because it violates town zoning […]

  • Marblehead Dream Home Torn Down After Long Dispute « CBS Boston

    […] judge ruled in December that Wayne Johnson’s dream house must be torn down because it violates town zoning […]

  • Luke

    Frank L. McElroy

    how much did you collect in legal fees over the last 16 years on this matter? How much will it cost Marblehead taxpayers when Johnson settles with the town for their liability here?

  • Marblehead Dream Home Torn Down After Long Dispute | Raw Tab

    […] judge ruled in December that Wayne Johnson’s dream house must be torn down because it violates town zoning […]

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