December 10, 2018
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Stockton Springs homeowner has 30 days to make repairs after court ruling

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday cleared the way for Stockton Springs’ officials to require a Sandy Point Road homeowner to repair the structure so it is no longer a dangerous building or nuisance.

If Hollie A. Beal fails to do that within 30 days, town officials could order that the 675-square-foot building be torn down.

Beal’s attorney, Aaron Fethke of Searsport, declined to comment Thursday.

Erik Stumpfel, the Bangor attorney who represents the town, declined Thursday to comment on what the Board of Selectmen’s next step would be.

Beal has been embroiled for more than two years in a battle with the town over the fate of the Sandy Point structure, which originally was built in the late 19th century as a grain storage shed for the old Littlefield Store. Beal, a Bar Harbor bartender and a flea market vendor, maintains she is trying to renovate the building into a simple, comfortable space.

The justices last month heard oral arguments in Beal’s appeal.

In May 2015, the board found the structure was unsafe, unstable, unsanitary and a fire hazard, according to court documents. The board gave Beal about 90 days to have a licensed plumber and a licensed electrician bring the building up to code and to make it structurally sound.

She appealed that decision, which kept the order from being enforced.

“The original deadline for completion of the corrections was Aug. 26, 2015, Stumpfel said in an email. “However, the selectmen’s order extends that deadline in the event of a court appeal, until 30 days after the final court decision. The law court has issued its decision in the case, so the 30-day clock for corrections is now running.”

In her appeal to the state’s high court, Beal’s attorney argued that:

— The Board of Selectmen did not comply with due process requirements in its hearing on the matter.

— There was insufficient evidence to support the board’s findings.

— The board’s subsequent hearings, held after its initial determination that the building was dangerous, failed to remedy the deficiencies in the initial hearing and decision.

The justices disagreed with those arguments in their 14-page opinion. No single justice was identified as its author.

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