D-F selectmen await plan for dangerous building on Lincoln Street
DOVER-FOXCROFT — Last month the Dover-Foxcroft Board of Selectmen approved a dangerous building order for a home and attached barn at 72 Lincoln Street to address long-standing problems with the property. The family of the property owner has until June 30 to finish their plan to have a sales agreement in place so the work can be done.
A prospective buyer has been invited to appear before the selectmen during their next meeting on Monday, April 26, to present their plan for 72 Lincoln Street to remedy the situation prior to June 30. This request was made during a meeting held over Zoom on April 12.
“I think the best possible outcome for the town and future generations is to have the house restored,” Selectman Steve Grammont said, saying the focus needs to remain on this within the order guidelines.
The 72 Lincoln Street property is owned by Alberta Luchetti of Little Falls, New Jersey. Her grandson Nick Bartley had previously said she is in poor health and could not take care of the situation on her own. Bartley has power of attorney for Luchetti.
Bartley said there is a prospective buyer in place through Mallett Real Estate with a plan to tear the barn down and fix up the house. “I’m ready to move on. I’m sure you are too,” Bartley said. “I have a solution, I have accepted an offer.”
“The order, as it was presented to us, was for the entire structure, the barn and the house,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said, as the document would still be applicable for a new owner. “The order forces the owner to remove all structures by June 30 and after June 30 the town would have the right to remove the structures on its own.”
Clukey said the selectmen would be the ones to make such a decision.
“I personally don’t want to tear down the house if it can be fixed,” Board Chairman Elwood Edgerly said. He said the barn is not salvageable and needs to be torn down, and the family has taken care of what has been asked so far such as putting up a fence and warning signage around the barn.
“His intention is to buy and renovate the house,” Bartley said about the prospective buyer. “He’s ready to buy, the only issue is the order to demolish by June 30.”
Edgerly suggested a renovation plan be brought before the board. Documentation would be submitted several days before April 26 for review by town officials in advance of the meeting.
“We are not taking any action on taking the building down — we’re just asking for something in writing,” he said.
Clukey said he has spoken with town attorney John Pottle — who wrote the order — and the selectmen would need to give Code Enforcement Officer Brian Gaudet approval to accept an application for a building permit on the structure with the dangerous building declaration in place.
“I’ve got the property under contract for sale,” Mallett said, saying the plan is to tear the barn down and renovate the home to its original condition. He said Luchetti had at one time intended to fix up the house and return to Dover-Foxcroft and “only now has she agreed to sell it.”
“That building was good looking in its day. It has a lot of New England charm, and it could look good again someday,” Mallett said.
He said he has lived on Lincoln Street for more than 50 years and has had to look at 72 Lincoln Street for a number of years. “You give someone a chance to make it valuable, I think it’s the smart thing to do,” Mallett said.
In other business, the selectmen signed the 10-item annual town meeting warrant. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 24, in the Morton Avenue Municipal Building Gymnasium. The gym can accommodate up to 50 percent capacity under current gathering limits, with social distancing procedures in place.The annual session will be held in person for the first time since 2019, with the town meeting process altered by COVID-19 last year.
In the third article of the warrant, the proposed amount for the 2021-22 town operations budget totals $5,024,910, an increase of nearly $375,000 from the current $4,651,635 figure. The article also says the spending plan would include $1,107,455 in revenue and surplus for a net amount of $3,917,455 to be raised.
The amount to be raised is $231,630 more than the 2020-21 total of $3,688,425.
The budget approved in late April is moved to a June referendum vote for final approval. The 2021 annual town meeting warrant and detailed budget information can be found on the town website at www.dover-foxcroft.org.
The board also appointed Ryan Edgerly to the planning board, with his term to run through June 30, 2022.
When asked, Clukey said he believes this is the only current planning board opening but Edgerly was on the board of appeals and now this group will have a vacancy. The town manager said Lisa Laser is the member of the planning board Edgerly is replacing.
In his report Clukey said the town submitted a USDA grant application to help the snowmobile club with the cost of its new groomer.
He also said a new flag pole has been ordered for Monument Square to replace the broken pole, and this should be in place for Memorial Day.