LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — A house described as a dangerous eyesore will be removed, voters decided Saturday at Lincolnville’s annual town meeting. Town officials vowed to seek reimbursement from the property owner, even though he is nowhere to be found.
After significant discussion, the majority of the 78 people who came to the Lincolnville Central School voted to authorize the spending of $32,890 to remove the building at the intersection of Routes 173 and 235 in Lincolnville Center. The town has made unsuccessful efforts over the past two years to work with, or at times even contact owner Donald Symington, whose last known address was in Haverill, Mass.
“He’s a tough character to find,” Town Administrator David Kinney said Wednesday. “We like property owners to be responsible owners.”
Over the years, Lincolnville has paid to remove trash from the outside of the building and hired a firm to analyze the environmental issues with the home, which include asbestos siding.
Kinney said the town intends to be reimbursed by the owner through legal avenues.
“We’re going to seek to get every nickel that the town’s put into that property, absolutely,” he said.
Residents also voted in favor of two moratorium ordinances on methadone clinics and on medical marijuana dispensaries or cultivation.
The two 180-day moratoriums are designed to allow the town’s land use committee to write ordinances that address such uses.
Kinney said the inspiration for the moratoriums came from other towns in the midcoast area that are dealing with these issues.
“That’s what caught the interest of some townspeople,” Kinney said.
The two moratorium ordinances passed with no more than “a handful” of opposition, he said.
Additionally, voters authorized the selectmen to lease the former schoolhouse on Beach Road that is known as the Lincolnville Improvement Association, or LIA, building.
Although the association has been located in the first floor of the building and the historical society on the second floor for decades, Kinney said, the town’s insurance company has asked for a lease to be signed for liability purposes.
Residents also discussed at some length what to do with the former Center Fire Station and Annex in Lincolnville Center.
“We have a couple groups that might be interested in leasing the building,” Kinney said. “There was some discussion about whether or not we ought to be leasing it or selling it.”
Enterprises that residents said might occupy the space include a farmers market, a tool and book lending library, an art studio or a yoga studio, he said.
Voters ultimately authorized the selectmen to lease the building.
This year, three people were running for two available three-year terms on the board of selectmen.
David Barrows received 338 votes, Julia Libby received 325 votes and incumbent Bob Plausse won just 230 votes and was not re-elected.
There were no candidates on the ballot for the “at least two” seats available on the Lincolnville School Committee, Kinney said.
Longtime school committee member Edmund Hartt, who was recognized for his 15 years of service at the annual meeting, had his name written on the ballot by enough people that he is considering serving another term, Kinney said.
The voters approved a $1.78 million municipal budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The sum is lower than the budget two years ago, Kinney said, but $92,369 more than the budget approved last year.
The difference is explained by the cost of demolishing the house, $8,000 approved for a water quality study at Norton Pond, $13,000 to be used to reshingle the town office roof and repaint the town office, and $30,000 that has been set aside for the capital reserve fund.
Kinney said he won’t know the mill rate until early August. Last year’s mill rate was set at $12.40 per $1,000 of property valuation.