D-F Select Board deems Pleasant Street structure as a dangerous building
DOVER-FOXCROFT — In the fall the Dover-Foxcroft Select Board began the process of dealing with a deteriorating property at 130 Pleasant Street. After a public hearing last month a motion was passed to continue the hearing on the Pleasant Street home until the Jan. 9 meeting and another extension was granted that evening to run through the next select session on Monday, Jan. 22.
Inbetween the two meetings Building Inspector Ken Salvucci was able to go inside 130 Pleasant Street and write a report for Code Enforcement Officer Brian Gaudet.
“Based on a visual inspection of the 130 Pleasant Street property today, my opinion is that the overall structure has been compromised to the extent that the building should be considered unsafe,” Salvucci wrote. “The foundation has failed causing major deflection and separation of the framing components and sagging conditions to the floors. Also visible were decayed beams, walls, and plaster/drywall. Due to the deteriorated roof shingles, it was evident that leakage has been occurring causing the presence of mold in many areas. It is my opinion and recommendation that this building be considered for demolition.”
Gaudet told the select board that due to frozen water conditions, it is not safe to enter the basement. “If the people really want to rehab it they are going to have to start from scratch, it needs a new foundation, it needs a new roof,” he said, saying it would be better to tear the home down to create a nice lot for a brand new house.
The property is owned by a limited liability company in a southern state and letters had previously been ignored. Gaudet said a work crew did go in for interior cleanup, but still he has not heard from the LLC.
Select Chairperson Tom Lizotte said town officials receive feedback from the public that owners of properties in poor condition need to be held accountable in order to get these taken care of.
The board adopted a dangerous building decision and order and authorized the town manager and municipal staff to take any further actions to implement this motion. Any potential actions taken by the town are to be determined.
The order states that no more than two weeks from receiving it, the LLC will apply for a demolition permit from the town and has 60 days to remove the structure while complying with all applicable local, state, and federal laws on the removal and disposal of materials.
Should the property owner fail to remove the structure or debris as required the town can proceed to demolish the former residential structure and/or garage/outbuilding and fill or fence the open foundation and be entitled to recover its expenses, including attorney’s fees, by any lawful means.
In other business, Dover-Foxcroft officials heard from the Climate Action Committee on how the town can increase its capacity to offer warming and cooling centers during extreme weather events.
James Fagan, a Maine Service Fellow with the committee, said a town-sponsored Community Emergency Response Team could be established to help set up a system of centers in Dover-Foxcroft. Fagan said a center is different from a shelter, in which those coming can spend the night, take showers, have their pets, and more.
A center is “there for people to come and charge their phone and things like that.”
“I think our request would be for the board to somehow convene a stakeholder group to talk about the details, I don’t think you can determine the details tonight,” Dr. Lesley Fernow said.
“The idea is we would have something flexible and really diverse,” Select person Steven Grammont said. He said plans for extreme weather would include more than just centers, but partners to help with transportation for those unable to drive to the locations and qualified people to help remove trees from blocked roads.
The Climate Action Committee will come back to the select board at a future meeting with more information.
The board approved a recruitment/retention bonus policy, based on employee years of service and effective as of Jan. 1.
“When we invest in people, we invest in training them,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said. He also said departments can be stretched thin when short staffed as the board’s administrative committee reviewed and recommended bringing forward the new policy to help retain and attract municipal employees.
“It just seems like a meaningful way to acknowledge peoples’ loyalty and longevity,” Select Vice Chairperson Cindy Freeman Cyr said. “To us it felt like a no-brainer.”
“I think it shows employees this is what you have to look forward to,” Police Chief Seth Burnes said.
The 2024 Piscataquis County Assessors Return was signed. Dover-Foxcroft has a $667,359 share of the near $5.5 million county budget. The town’s share is up by $5,912 from the year before.
In his report Clukey said, “Part of the work of the Climate Action Committee is keeping us aware of grant opportunities.”
He said a consultant looked at energy efficiency upgrade opportunities. The town will look to apply to Efficiency Maine for funding for a lighting upgrade at the municipal building. Clukey said improved aeration of the lagoon system was also identified at the wastewater treatment plant.