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Rockland to return foreclosed garage to former owner

By Stephen Betts | Oct 30, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts 59 Camden St. in Rockland

Rockland — The Rockland City Council will vote next month on whether to return a former longtime garage to its former owner, who lost it for not paying his sewer fees.

The proposal to issue a quit claim deed to Rockland Plaza LLC and its principal owner, Mark Patel of Biddeford, will be voted Nov. 9.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said the former owner will need repay the city for two years of property taxes owed at the time of the foreclosure in 2016 in order to get back the property. The proposed agreement calls for him to pay the city $8,544 in property taxes, interests, and charges.

The city manager said he wants to get the property back on the tax rolls.

If the former owner does not agree to the terms after 30 days, the city would seek to sell its interests.

There is considerable interest by people in acquiring the property, and the manager said the city is encouraging its former owner to sell the property so it can be developed.

The property is at the intersection of Camden Street and Maverick Street.

The City Council held a closed-door session Oct. 5 to get advice from its attorney on the status of the property and whether the city can put it up for sale. State law allows government bodies to receive legal advice in private if they choose.

Rockland became the owner of 59 Camden St. in 2016 when a lien foreclosure occurred. The foreclosure was the result of the former owner not paying his sewer fees for more than two years despite repeated notices and warnings sent to the corporation.

The city put the property up for sale shortly after Rockland acquired it and received two bids, including one from Rockland Plaza. Patel's attorney, Harry Center II of Biddeford, said in a 2017 letter that Patel maintained he was still the rightful owner.

The property is assessed at $247,900.

The property was the location of the Harry French automobile repair shop at the busy intersection of Camden and Maverick streets. The site has been vacant for more than 11 years.

The lot was also the subject of an environmental cleanup in 2010 because of spillage from fuel tanks.

The building, built around 1928, sits on slightly less than a fifth of an acre.

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Comments (3)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 31, 2020 09:27

The city is perfectly willing to offer a program for homeowners to delay payment of taxes until the property is sold, yet spends thousands on legal fees defending their right to collect overdue sewer fess (most likely amounting to less than a few hundred dollars).  One has to question if the inmates are running the asylum.

Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Oct 30, 2020 23:07

Originally sewer fees were based upon the amount of water used. A vacant building could not have used much of either but the possibilty that it could be used is costly to an owner.  If the City retained  the building, it is likely it would have to pay for the toxic cleanup. Rather a hot potato.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 30, 2020 17:21

How many chances does this deadbeat deserve? What's changed since the last time the City rattled his cage?

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