December 10, 2018
York Latest News | Paul LePage | 129th Legislature | Impeachment | UMaine Black Bears

Sanford deems three vacant homes dangerous, agrees to demolish another

Tammy Wells | Journal Tribune
Tammy Wells | Journal Tribune
This vacant property, at 32 River St. in Sanford, is unfit for human habitation and along with two other vacant properties was designated dangerous by the Sanford City Council on Tuesday.

Sanford councilors on Tuesday determined that three vacant dwellings are dangerous and a nuisance and accepted a bid to demolish a fourth that was determined dangerous nearly two years ago.

Guillemette Brothers was the sole bidder to remove 9 Kirk St. The bid for removal was just under $15,000, but could include additional money if it is determined there is asbestos that needs to be removed, as well as other costs, like fees associated with disposal of materials.

The property is expected to be demolished sometime this month.

As to the three vacant dwellings, owners have 30 days to remedy the issues on the properties at 13 Deering Neighborhood Road, 32 River St. and a duplex numbered 5 and 7 Allen St. and an additional 21 days to remove their personal belongings if it is determined the dwellings will come down.

One couple, David and Adele Baldwin, the owners of 13 Deering Neighborhood Road, asked for 60 days to remove personal items.

“It’s gotten away from us,” David Baldwin told the council. “We’ve been taking things out [of the house] but we know it’s got to come down.”

Mayor Tom Cote told the couple that they would have time, even with the dangerous building designation, pointing out that the couple has been working with Community Development Director Ian Houseal.

“They are taking steps to get their things out,” Houseal said.

Codes Enforcement Officer Shirley Sheesley said the vacant dwelling was suffering from structural deficiencies, missing windows and doors, and has holes in the roof, among other problems.

The three properties are among several vacant structurally deficient buildings deemed dangerous over the last two years as the city tries to get properties either cleaned up and renovated if possible, or torn down.

The building at 32 River St. now appears to be owned by Rural Development — city officials on Tuesday said the owner has died.

The Cape Cod style house has been placarded as unfit for human habitation. It has no water. There are broken windows, the basement was so full of items codes officers couldn’t venture into it, there was trash and food waste in the kitchen, the shed is unpermitted and there were squatters sleeping in the second story when the codes officers arrived, Sheesley said.

The Allen Street duplex was sold to the current owner, Coleman McDonough, by the city in June 2015. The city had acquired the property in 2014, and it had been damaged by fire in 2013. Sheesley told the City Council there was no electrical service to the building, the roof has a gaping hole from the 2013 fire. She said the owner would not let her inside to perform an inspection. The building was placarded as unfit for human habitation following the 2013 fire. She said the porch has structural damage, there is rot as well as the hole in the roof and other issues.

McDonough told the council he intends to determine whether it is feasible to make repairs, and if it isn’t, he said it would be less costly for him to take the building down than to have the city do so. He said he is willing to comply with the city, but said he just received the notice and asked for 90 to 120 days grace.

Councilor Fred Smith suggested the city enter into consent agreements with building owners, pointing out that two parties had asked for extra time. He said owners of some other, prior properties had made promises to make repairs that had not been kept.

Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy pointed out the decree designating the properties as dangerous didn’t mean the buildings would come down immediately. She advised staying with the process and noted the Baldwins were already working with the city.

Cote, the mayor, pointed out that Houseal has already expressed a willingness to work with building owners.

Each of the three votes designating the buildings dangerous was unanimous.

 


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