Owls Head selectmen try to deal with dangerous houses
Owls Head — A discussion of dangerous houses occupied much of the time of the selectmen Tuesday night, Sept. 4 as the board dealt with an existing dwelling on town-owned land and talked about the best way to proceed with labeling a second property on Ash Point Road a "dangerous building."
The board decided to put the property at 154 South Shore Drive out to public bid by advertising for a real estate agent to handle the sale on the open market.
The property is made up of two lots next to one another and listed as lots 93-1 and 95 on tax map No. 7.
"The building is unlivable. It hasn't been lived in for 30 years," said Selectman Richard Carver.
Although Owls Head has no dangerous building ordinance, state law does give a municipality permission to declare a dwelling dangerous. The municipal officials could then order the "disposal" of that structure, the statute states.
The board decided to place an advertisement in a local newspaper.
Selectmen then took up the issue of a property at 511 Ash Point Road as a possible dangerous building. Their discussion followed a response by neighbors of the property in question appearing at a meeting in August and asking that the board authorize the code officer to take action.
The site is a derelict-looking mobile home on a three-sided, 40,000-square-foot lot backing up to the water. No one lives in the building now.
The trailer is on a slab or blocking and has been unoccupied for years.
Over the years, windows and doors have been boarded up, but also just as often the broken windows have been exposed, Carver wrote in an email to the Maine Municipal Association.
Richard Flewelling of MMA's Legal Services Department replied that the definition of a dangerous building is for the selectmen to determine, based on the evidence. The board may seek a determination from the Maine Superior Court.
Selectmen on Sept. 4 discussed whether they had the right to inspect the property without the owner's permission.
For the situation to fall under the dangerous building statute, Carver said he believes the selectmen have to say, "This is a dangerous building. Then we have to take it to Superior Court."
One reason for not removing the trailer has been the lot size itself, which is a non-conforming size. They said the owner's concern is that removing the building would remove the footprint so that another building could not be put in its place.
The board plans to pursue legal answers regarding the property.
In other business, Larry and Sue Choate of Freedom Drive requested that the board designate their street a town road. Freedom Drive is already paved. Selectmen said they would place the request on the next special town meeting warrant.
The board also appointed Jeff Labrozzi as the new harbormaster.
Selectmen reviewed tax abatement requests with Assessor Tom Edwards.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 207-594-4401, or at email@example.com.