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Colchester residents tear down their own homes - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Colchester residents tear down their own homes

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COLCHESTER, Vt. -

Nikki Builta-Paradise grew up in the house her parents bought on East Lakeshore Drive in Colchester. She moved her family into her childhood home eight years ago, but now she's watching the home get torn down.

"It's tragic," she said. "It's like losing a family member that has always been around for you. For me, this is the biggest loss I've ever experienced in my life. I've been really lucky and grateful to have been able to raise Paige, and I've had lots of great experiences here myself."

Builta-Paradise is one of several members of the Malletts Bay Homeowners Association who chose to demolish their homes after the Vermont Supreme Court ordered that all homeowners leave the land by May 1. Mongeon Bay Properties, which owns the land, claimed the association broke their lease by not maintaining a proper seawall on the shore. After years of legal battles, Mongeon won. Homeowners are being forced to walk away from their lakefront homes and all they've invested in them. Some are choosing to spend thousands more on demolition.

"There's no way I'm leaving my house for somebody else to have and to profit from or do anything in," Builta-Paradise said. "Nobody else can have those times and that space. It doesn't look like much to some people, but it was everything, and it was awesome, and it was just incredibly hard to lose."

Many homeowners chose not to demolish their houses and instead tried to sell what pieces of their homes they could--everything from windows to staircases. Builta-Paradise, her partner, and daughter are sad to lose the home they worked on and loved.

"Built the porch on here. We had ice fishing parties in the winter. We got married on this beach," Jessie Builta-Paradise said. "It's always been the paradise house."

We reached out to the lawyer who represented Mongeon Bay Properties for the case, David H. Greenburg, and asked for an interview to talk about the case. He had not yet responded when this story was published.

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Dozens of families forced out of Colchester neighborhood

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