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Board tells owners to demolish dangerous garages
RUMFORD -- Owners of two dangerous garages were told by selectmen Thursday they have 60 days to take the structures down and get rid of the debris, or the town will get the work done and charge the property owner.
At issue are a two-story garage at 47 Kerr St., which is owned by Aaron and Angela Gallant, and a single-story, 2.5-car garage at 237 Penobscot St. owned by Lee Farrar.
Angela Gallant, the only owner attending the board meeting, asked the board to give her more time and she would complete the work with help from family members and friends.
Chairman Brad Adley told her the town had given them three years already, saying they were first notified in 2008.
"This is going on three years. My concern are the kids playing around. It's hard to turn a blind eye," he said.
After Gallant asked for four months to complete the work, Town Manager Carlo Puiia four to six months is unacceptable because “it's still putting people at risk."
When asked if the building could be used by the fire department for a training and burn, Fire Chief Bob Chase noted it just isn't possible because the building is too close to the overhead power lines.
Code Enforcement Officer Rick Kent suggested giving them two to four days to board up the windows and doors, and 60 days in which to demolish the structure and haul off the debris.
Selectman Greg Buccina asked if the town were to demolish the building, could they place a lien on the property that she could pay off rather than making the couple pay the demolition costs.
Puiia said that could be done. When a board member asked if the Public Works crew could demolish the structure at lower cost, Puiia said he wouldn't recommend it, but that it should go through the bidding process.
Selectman Mark Belanger then motioned to give the Gallants 48 hours to board up the building and 60 days to tear it down and haul off the debris. “If it's not down after 60 days, we'll tear it down."
Belanger then added to his motion, saying if it's not down, the board would hire a crew to take it down and put a lien on the property.
Selectmen then voted 4-0 to approve the motion. Belanger's motion was also applied to Farrar's garage after Adley said the building fronts Washington Street.
Kent said he'd received complaints that the wind is blowing debris off the building and into the road.
In other business, a special selectmen's meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday to vote on whether or not to extend the wind power facility moratorium and if so, how long for that extension. The current six-month moratorium will expire on May 27.
Puiia has recommended that the extension be for 60 days to July 27, giving enough time for the new Board of Selectmen to determine what course of action to take going forward.
Prior to the special selectmen's meeting, a public hearing to extend the wind power facility moratorium will take place the same evening at 6 p.m.
Resident Peter Buotte said "A lot of people don't understand why you did what you did," regarding the new proposed wind power ordinance.
Resident Jim Thibodeau support that. "Is the board willing to explain some of the things they couldn't explain to us in the wind power meetings? There were a lot of things asked that we never got an answer for. Some of the answers were just because. I don't think that's fair to your constituants that you would let that go as."
He asked that the board provide an explanation to all the major changes made and where they got the technical information.
Adley said he believes some of those answers can be provided at the public hearing next Thursday.
The board awarded the gravel and winter sand bid to Knox Loam, Sand & Gravel for $93,750. This bid was more than $4,000 higher than the low bid of $89,625 by R.A. Tibbetts of Wilton. However, selectmen voted 4-0 to go with the Knox bid because the business is from Rumford, with their trucks registered here.
Buccina asked that the board discuss the bid process on a future agenda "to try to improve the process."
Selectmen awarded the pre-cast concrete bid to low bidder George Roberts Co. at $20,345. None of the four bidders are from this area.
Puiia announced that Marsha Chaisson has resigned her position as a Rumford representing on the Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 board. He asked that if anyone is interested in serving to contact the town office within the next couple of weeks.
He said the fill-in term would be for one year until the subsequent vote.
Noting that the local access channel was not available to video this meeting, citizen Jim Thibodeau asked the board to consider paying someone to have meetings of town business taped for the public. He was told the issue will be placed on a future agenda for the board.