Kents Landing tenant to stay put until spring

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES – Imagine being evicted from your home in the dead of winter. Imagine being told you have to remove all your belongings, including a mobile home that was enveloped by ice and snow a month ago.

Kenneth Burnham Sr. was surrounded by long-time friends as he appeared before the Naples Board of Selectmen regarding his eviction from Kent’s Landing.

“It is the middle of winter, and there is a mobile home with 3 feet of snow around it,” said Kimberly Nielsen, a family friend who spoke on Burnham’s behalf.

The Kent’s Landing parcel – which the town purchased about six weeks ago - is adjacent to the public beach on Long Lake. Earlier in 2010, the Superior Court determined that Burnham did not own the parcel. Last month, selectmen gave their nod to evicting Burnham – carrying out the wishes of Naples taxpayers to turn the property into an improved town beach.

On Monday, selectmen agreed to allow Burnham to wait until spring to leave.

Nielson outlined the attempts that have been made to leave the property.

“When we ask contractors if they could move the home to another location, they just laugh,” she said. “They can’t do it now. It’s winter in Maine.”

She added ‘we’ve accepted the eviction,” but told the board spring would be better for removing the mobile home from the property.

Immediately, Selectman Christine Powers responded saying the timeline for being able to purchase Kent’s Landing happened later than anticipated, and there was no intention to displace anyone from a home during the month of February.

The board voted unanimously to extend Burnham’s residency at Kent’s Landing, and to continue with the eviction process this spring.

“We just want to be using it by the spring,” Chairman Dana Watson said. “It was never our intent to throw anyone out by February.”

According to Town Manager Derik Goodine, the town attorney will draw up a consent agreement for Burnham to sign, with an eviction deadline of April 15 – a solution reached by the board in executive session.

During Monday’s meeting, Nielsen assured the board that they would be prepared by spring.

“We are working on finding a new place for the mobile home. We would like to get it out there as soon as possible,” she said. “It’s the Maine winter that is the problem now.”

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