Town pushes owners to demolish dangerous building

IT COULD COLLAPSE — Bridgton Code Enforcement Officer Robbie Baker told Bridgton Selectmen this home on Cottage Street could collapse this winter from snow loads if it isn’t torn down. Selectmen agreed, empowering Baker to notify the owners that the building must be removed. (Geraghty Photo)

IT COULD COLLAPSE — Bridgton Code Enforcement Officer Robbie Baker told Bridgton Selectmen this home on Cottage Street could collapse this winter from snow loads if it isn’t torn down. Selectmen agreed, empowering Baker to notify the owners that the building must be removed.
(Geraghty Photo)

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Selectmen on Tuesday agreed to order the demolition of a house at 2 Cottage Street that was badly damaged by a fire last winter.

The February fire destroyed nearly half of the roof, and Code Enforcement Robbie Baker said, “With the snow load this winter, I’m concerned it will collapse.”

The building had been owned by Peter DePalma, who died in July of 2013. Currently it has three owners, two of which live in other parts of Maine, with the other from the state of Washington. The parties agreed to secure all points of entry into the building after the fire so that no persons or animals could enter, but that’s all that has been done, Baker said.

In order to have the building demolished, Baker first needed selectmen to declare it a dangerous building under state law, which they did on Tuesday. Selectmen may then order the owners to have it demolished, or the town may tear it down if the owners do nothing.

Baker said he hoped it wouldn’t get to that point.

“Hopefully, when the letters go out, they’ll take it down voluntarily,” he said.

Selectman Doug Taft commended Baker for coming to the board on the issue before too much time has passed. He cited a similar situation of a fire-damaged building on North High Street that took years to resolve.

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