Kent’s Landing tenant evicted

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES — Citing the wishes of the taxpayers who voted at town meeting to invest $750,000 toward the purchase of the Kent’s Landing property, the Naples Board of Selectmen Monday voted unanimously to evict a tenant living in a trailer on the parcel.

Recently, estate proceedings wrapped up — freeing the property; and, the District Court ruled that the town could purchase the waterfront parcel on Long Lake adjacent to the town’s public beach. The funding to acquire the land had already been approved by Naples voters during a special town meeting last winter — public ownership of the parcel would expand the acreage of the Naples Town Beach. Already this fall, the concrete was poured and a changing-room facility was constructed.

The next step was for the selectmen to decide whether or not the town should enter into a lease agreement with the current tenant or give him an eviction notice, according to Town Manager Derik Goodine.

Although tenant Kenny Burnham asked the selectmen to consider allowing him to live in his home located on the now-town-owned property, the board said it would prefer to side with the voters who wanted the land for public use.

“I was promised life tenancy,” Burnham told the board. “I don’t know how I got screwed over.”

He said he had acquired the land, which had been promised to him by the previous owner — as payment for taking care of her through old age.

“She asked me to move in to take care of her,” he said, “and in return, she’d give me her place.”

Selectman Rick Paraschak said he was not in the seat to judge the situation.

“I don’t think it’ll do us any good to argue the point. We tried very hard to honor our agreement with the court,” Paraschak said. “Do you want to formally ask this board for a life estate?”

Goodine reminded the board that the town’s lawyer said “it’s up to selectmen to decide.”

“Is it something we want to do tonight?” Chairman Dana Watson asked fellow board members.

Paraschak spoke to the opinion of the majority in town, and said there was no reason to delay a vote on the matter.

“The people I’ve talked to in the community say they don’t want anyone living there. They’ve okayed the $750,000 to purchase the land. They want this land strictly for the town use,” Paraschak said.

Selectman Christine Powers agreed.

“Given the will of the people, I’d have to support this motion,” Powers said.

The board voted 4-0 to deny Burnham’s request to continue to live on the property. Selectman Tom Mayberry was absent.

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