5-day reprieves granted for demolition completion work

RUMFORD — Owners of two structures deemed hazardous this spring and ordered demolished and cleaned up got a slight reprieve at Thursday night's selectmen meeting.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Lee Farrar, the owner of a three-bay garage at 237 Penobscot St. in Rumford, tells selectmen Thursday night that he would like to keep one bay, which is salvageable.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

During a discussion Thursday night with Lee Farrar, owner of a caved-in three-bay garage at 237 Penobscot St. that selectmen ordered destroyed, Rumford Selectman Jolene Lovejoy asks Farrar why he didn't complete the work in 60 days as required by the board.

By a 3-to-1 vote each time, the board gave Lee Farrar and Aaron and Angela Gallant five days to complete work to Code Enforcement Officer Rick Kent's satisfaction. Selectman Brad Adley dissented. Selectman Jeremy Volkernick was absent.

Farrar owns the three-bay garage at 237 Penobscot St.; the Gallants own what's left of 47 Kerr St.

Should they fail to complete the work by the end of the day on Tuesday, Aug. 23, court proceedings will be started.

Selectman gave Farrar 60 days in late May to remove the caved-in structure and debris and fill in the foundation hole to make the property safe.

Farrar proceeded to do the work before learning that one bay was salvageable and sought permission to keep one bay.

He told selectmen Tuesday night that he met with Kent and tried to get his request before selectmen ahead of the deadline. However, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said when Farrar sought the board's audience, the deadline to get the topic on the board's agenda had passed.

Still, Kent advised selectmen this month by letter that Farrar can keep the third bay if he removes the debris and fills in the foundation hole.

When asked by Selectman Chairman Greg Buccina if he could accomplish that, Farrar said he could.

Adley and Selectman Jolene Lovejoy said the board gave Farrar plenty of time. They argued that selectmen should stick to Kent's original order and deny Farrar's request and require him to remove the third bay.

“It has been a mess out there,” Lovejoy said.

“I know you took some of it away, but that yellow tape won't prevent a kid from getting injured out there.”

“That's a big hole there and there are a lot of children in the area and I'm appalled that it's gone this long,” she said. “I'm going to play hardball on this and I'm sorry it's you, but you didn't do what you were asked to do.”

However, after Buccina read their options — to deny the request and force demolition of the remaining bay and cleanup or to grant the five-day extension — Lovejoy softened her stance.

Adley, however, did not.

“I'm not going to back down,” he said. “We were reasonable about it. We gave him 60 days.”

Selectman Jeff Sterling said that when the board gave Farrar 60 days, none of them realized that one garage bay could be salvaged.

“We made a decision without knowing all the facts, and how could we?” he asked.

“We didn't have all the evidence, so it seems to me that if the CEO agrees that this is a salvageable and usable garage, we could amend our decision.”

The board then voted to give Farrar five days, after which he signed an agreement provided by Puiia.

Puiia then expounded on the Gallant's situation, saying they did “a fair job” of complying, but left the structurally unsound flooring and some side wall in place.

“It's just a foundation and they left it with just boards over it,” Lovejoy said. “Again, it's another safety hazard.”

She then suggested they give the Gallants five days to finish the work to Kent's satisfaction or court action will ensue. Neither the Gallants nor a representative attended the meeting.

Remaining resolute, Adley said he wouldn't support the time extension.

Sterling said the Gallant's situation shouldn't be compared to Farrar's, because Kent deemed the entire structure unsafe and nothing was salvageable.

However, he wanted to save the town the expense of going to court to gain compliance.

After the vote, Buccina asked Puiia to call the Gallants and advise them of the decision.


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It Tickles me

To think that the town needs afull time code officer. When Mr. Kent took job with the Rumford PD it was stated at the time that the position could be done at 20 hrs. a week but when it was found that he could not do both the manager and selectboard reinstate him at full time once again. People ask me why I don't attend meetings anymore. It would be difficult to keep quiet to observe the dictatorship that the Chairman has been able to institute. I hope that in Sat. article that this newspaper informs the town on who got the fuel bid to supply the town. And I hope that all bids are printed so citizens can see how corruption works at its best. By the way Mr. B how about not wasting money on your fireworks project and leave the street lights alone. And if the board and manager are gullible enough to believe that Newpage is only considering Chapter 11 then you all should be recalled. To save paying just their taxes to the town would be a good kick in the butt for them. But yet the powers to be will just sit on their thrones and not do the things needed to be done in preperation for this downfall. Wonder how the town will be able to meet its bills then.

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Tickled as you may be....

once again, Mr. DiConzo you are going overboard. Yes, the board is making different decisions, but that does not mean that there is a dictatorship. Just as in Washington where the majority shifted from one party (approach) to another, so have things shifted here. I don't agree with every decision made, but I am not one of the decision makers.

You state a number of good points, but please consider being less extreme in your depiction of the power structure. We live in a democracy, and this is how a democracy works. You know as well as anyone that if I believed anything underhanded were happening, I would not sit quietly and let it continue.

Wake up Kevin

Like most of the people in Rumford your not awake yet. Stay gullible and keep your blinders on because you'll never admit to what is really happening to Rumford. People like you who always take the middle road will never be able to help make changes that need to be made. That's why Rumford is in such a predicament.

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All anyone has to do is drive by the garage and see that the remaining structure is not salvageable. It's going to end up right where the rest of the structure was.
It's time Rich stops playing Mr. nice guy and do his job, if he had been doing his job in the first place this situation would not have developed.


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