Town seeking estimates to demolish house

LIVERMORE FALLS — The town’s highway foreman is getting estimates for costs to demolish a condemned house at 1 Birch St., Town Manager Jim Chaousis told selectmen Monday.

Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Livermore Falls highway foreman Bill Nichols is seeking cost estimates to demolish the condemned house at 1 Birch St., owned by Roger LaPlante. A judge ordered LaPlante to vacate the building by June 4. He was also ordered to remove personal property by  June 11.

A judge ordered Roger LaPlante and his son to vacate the property by June 4 and to remove all personal property by June 11, he said.

The judge also ordered that nothing attached to the building could be removed, Chaousis said.

Selectmen voted in May to declare the house a dangerous building after a structural engineer determined it was structurally unsound.

LaPlante was given 30 days in April to improve the property to make it safe and to clean it up. If he had made significant improvement, selectmen said they would give LaPlante more time to work on the building. However, the engineer went in and declared it unsafe.

Chaousis said they would like to get demolition started as soon as June 14.

The project will not go out to bid because of the time frame, Chaousis said. Instead Highway Foreman Bill Nichols is calling local contractors to get prices. The low bidder will get the bid for the project, he said.

Voters will be asked Tuesday if they want to transfer $30,000 from the undesignated fund to deal with dangerous buildings.

Resident Val Nichols said LaPlante has more than $2,000 in roofing on the building. He asked to be able to remove the roofing, Nichols said.

LaPlante went and took out a $2,500 loan to fix the place up after he was ordered to do so, Nichols said.

Chaousis said the judge said no materials could be removed.

Val Nichols also said selectmen originally said they would need to find a place for LaPlante to stay but that wasn’t the case.

“As a town, we should be ashamed,” Val Nichols said.

Chaousis said no requests from LaPlante have come in for temporary housing.

“This is not something we took lightly,” Select Board Chairwoman Louise Chabot said.

He is optimistic, Chaousis said, that people will recognize the need to take the building down and agree to transfer the money. Otherwise they will have to find the money elsewhere.

LaPlante will still own the land but if he rebuilds, he would need to repay the town for legal and demolition costs, Chabot said.

In other business, selectmen voted 4-1, with Selectman Alphonso Barker opposed, to rescind the Chaousis’ disciplinary action against the Police Department.

The board took the action out of executive session but forgot to open the doors to the room to see if any public was still out there.

Chaousis apologized for that, saying he had other things on his mind, including the birth of a daughter 20 days early over the weekend.

Police Chief Ernest Steward Jr. declined comment on the session.

Outside the selectmen’s meeting, selectman’s candidate Mellette Pepin said she intends to fully pursue a three-year term on the board. She is challenging incumbent Selectman Jim Collins for the seat on Tuesday.

Pepin told the Sun Journal last week that she may not be able to go through with it because of personal reasons. She had an emergency family matter that day, she said Monday, but has since resolved it.

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 's picture

I support Mr. LaPlante and

I support Mr. LaPlante and his family. I feel sad about this situation. I wish that I could help monetarily with new housing. My prayers are with the family.

 's picture

Where are the Christians?

Madeleine asks, "Where are the Christians?"

Madeleine, I'm a Christian. I live at 299 High St., Farmington, ME 04938-1732.


Licia Kuenning

 's picture

its the papers fault??

for reoporting news that the local board of selectman, and the local town goverment and court system take action on?? No I don't work for the SJ or have any affiliation with them, just my thoughts.

 's picture

Join supporters

I was glad to see many comments in the May 28 SJ supportive of Roger LaPlante and his family. Unfortunately many of those who commented did not identify themselves so that other supporters could get together with them. Someone who called himself "Stanger" wrote, "I am lining up people as we speak to stand in the way the day they try to tear this building down." I would stand with him, but I don't know how to contact him. I don't know what day they will try to tear the building down, and I don't know whether "Stanger" is this person's real name. He gave no address or contact information of any kind.

I suppose some people think it's cool to post comments anonymously just because other people do it, or because they are afraid of getting unwanted mail if they give their street address or e-mail address. Well, that can happen; but it seems to me a small price to pay if one cares about a cause. There is naturally more credibility to messages whose authors have the courage to identify themselves.

I would like to hear from people who are supporting the LaPlantes. Please give me your address. If I even had Roger LaPlante's address I would at least send him a contribution.

Licia Kuenning (299 High St., Farmington)
The Occasional Pussycat


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