FORT KENT, Maine — About a half-dozen property owners in Fort Kent soon will receive letters from the town’s attorney to determine the fate of their structures.
The town’s code enforcement officer has deemed the buildings — none of them occupied residential structures — “dangerous” and potentially hazardous.
“Every 10 years or so we ride around and look at structures that are abandoned or look in danger of collapse due to snow loads [or] just don’t look safe,” said Dennis Cyr, Fort Kent code enforcement officer. “We then contact the owners and see what their intentions are for the buildings.”
Cyr said he conducted the most recent inspection about a year ago and identified 18 buildings that could pose a hazard to the general public.
At the time letters were sent to the owners giving them four options: Submit a timeline for planned repairs, tear the structure down, appeal to the Town Council or do nothing at which point the town would demolish the building at the owner’s expense.
“Most of the people took care of the issue on their own,” Cyr said. “A few of the others indicated they wanted to wait until this spring to take of things so now we are following up.”
Cyr said the matter comes down to one of safety.
“Someone could get hurt if an unsafe building collapses under a snow load or children could get inside [the buildings] and get hurt,” he said. “It also helps beautify the community.”
Town Manager Don Guimond, at the direction of the Town Council, last week met with the municipal attorney who will prepare the letters.
“The Town Council elected to start the process with those properties that have not abated the danger or hazards,” Guimond said. “Under state statute there are outlines for the procedures to follow with dangerous or hazardous buildings.”
Cyr said the property owners will have time to respond to the letters and let the town know what they plan to do with their buildings.
“These are all structures with no one living in them,” Cyr said. “We are talking about side sheds, add-ons or abandoned buildings.”