Willimantic town hall remodeling lacks permit, officials warn

Posted July 30, 2010, at 11:16 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.

WILLIMANTIC, Maine — Town and state officials are working to correct a problem caused when town officials started renovations to the town hall without a construction permit, they said Friday.

Rich McCarthy, senior plans examiner for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, said the town was issued a warning card on Tuesday for failure to obtain a construction permit after two town residents expressed concerns about the building’s remodeling.

The town planning board and Code Enforcement Officer Brian Turner told two Board of Selectmen members that the project did not require a permit, Selectman Thomas Capraro said.

“I hate to use the word misadvised, but they did not get the right information,” McCarthy said Friday.

The warning card, McCarthy said, carries no threat of legal action unless the warning is unheeded, unlike a summons, which requires court action.

“Basically this is their warning to say that they need to get a permit, to handle it and move on. They need to get us some plans, obtain a permit for work that has been done and is going to be done. That’s really where it stands right now,” McCarthy said.

“We are following their advice and they are working with us,” Capraro said.

Capraro assured residents that the work and the lack of a permit would not interrupt town business, though no more than 30 people would be allowed in the building at a time. A structure dating back to the 1800s, the hall typically is used only three times a month, for selectmen and planning board meetings, he said.

Town residents get most of their town government services performed in Guilford, McCarthy said.

Work on the town hall has occurred intermittently since 2008, when voters authorized selectmen to use the $78,018 set aside in a dedicated account for the improvements and a $3,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation to add a new foundation and a new roof to the building.

The town also had $5,000 in in-kind donations for the work.

Located in Piscataquis County between Monson and Sebec Lake, Willimantic had a population of 135 people in the census of 2000.

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