Unsound structures could face demolition

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Two buildings have caught the eye of Casco’s new code enforcement officer.

No, he isn’t in the market for a home.

Instead, the structures pose a possible threat to public safety, and need to be removed, he said, outlining the months-long process that is required by municipal and state codes.

After a presentation by CEO Don Murphy on Tuesday, the Casco Board of Selectmen gave their nod of approval to begin the lengthy and necessary process to notify the legal owners, and move forward with the demolition of the uninhabited buildings.

Already, since Murphy stepped into the role of code enforcement officer in February, he has legally executed the removal of two unsound structures: A garage located from road view of Route 302, and a trailer on Point Sebago Road that was ‘junk.’

The two parcels, which selectmen agreed were in dire need of removal, are located at 1387 Poland Springs Road and 50 Webbs Mill Road.

On one of those properties, “an abutter had made an inquiry about an addition to the garage that is literally falling down,” Murphy told the board.

One of the avenues to pursue — the one recommended by the town’s attorney — is to do a title search and make every effort to contact the person or the bank that currently holds the deed. Then, an advertised public hearing would be scheduled.

Basically, the removal of the two structures would occur within two to three months of notifying the proper landowners.

“There is a careful process of notification of lien holders,” Murphy said.

“The town’s first obligation is a courtesy letter. Each letter becomes a little more urgent to take care of it. The letters have a little stronger language each time,” he said.

“The town has the right to take it down, but all interested parties would have to sign that agreement and the town clerk must authorize it as well,” Murphy said.

Town Manager Dave Morton reiterated what Murphy was saying.

There would be “two board of selectmen meetings — one to set down a date for public hearing, then the public hearing.”

“This option is going to take 60 to 90 days,” Morton said. Other choices included hearing the issue before a judge.

Prior to the unanimous vote, Selectman Ray Grant asked how the town would pay for the costs associated with this project.

Morton answered, “The upfront legal work will come from the legal budget. How the other costs are covered will be the board’s decision.”

The town manager said the board would be provided with some cost estimates for the demolition on the two properties.

Newly-seated board member Grant Plummer stated his support of ridding residents of these unsafe structures.

“These are two different properties. One is on our lien list, and the other isn’t. Moving forward with this process is an important step for us,” Plummer said.

 

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