A 90-year-old disabled World War II veteran still could be evicted from public housing because he says he wasn't smoking far enough away from his building.
Veteran Andy Nowicki, of Newington, and his wife were served with new papers Wednesday. His family continues to argue with the public housing authority and is asking for an exception to be made for Nowicki.
Nowicki, who is on oxygen and has trouble walking, was in the Veterans Affair Hospital on Thursday because he fell and hurt his ribs at his apartment at the Cedar Village Elderly Housing Complex.
The question remains how much longer he'll be able to call that place home.
"As I'm living day-to-day, I just hang in there," Nowicki said.
Nowicki has been unable to comply with a rule introduced a year and a half ago requiring Newington Public Housing residents to smoke at least 10 feet outside their homes. Cedar Village is run by the Newington Housing Authority.
War wounds and other ailments can make it tough for Nowicki to get outside. He said he has done the best he can on his scooter, but sometimes he could only make it to a breezeway outside his apartment.
"It's not a state-mandated law," said Janet Nowicki. "It's something that they (Newington Public Housing) put into effect."
Andy Nowicki's family would like the housing authority to make an exception for him.
"Why can't you grandfather him in? He's been there 20 years," said Janet Nowicki.
"It's very hard to grandfather, so that somebody moves into a facility that they think is no smoking, and there's somebody smoking next to them," said Melinda Harvey of Newington Housing Authority.
Meanwhile, the housing authority officials contend they are open to compromise and said they have "floated out" the idea to the Nowicki family.
"We're willing to sit down and talk about it," Harvey said.
"It depends on what they want to compromise about," said Janet Nowicki. "They haven't told me anything."
Andy Nowicki will be in Hartford Housing Court later this month, represented for free by state Sen. Paul Doyle, who said he is still hopeful some kind of compromise can be reached.
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