House, property to be cleaned up, restored or demolished

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen voted on Monday to order a local man to clean up his property and restore his house to a minimal standard that abides by all state and local codes.

Either that the town would demolish it.

Selectmen gave Roger LaPlante 30 days to comply with the order. However, if he has made good progress and is making a true effort to abide by the order, they may consider extending it.

The decision came after a public hearing to see if the house at 1 Birch St. is a danger or nuisance building under state law.

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At the start of the hearing, resident Val Nichols asked why the house was being considered a dangerous building.

“Is it because it doesn’t look good?” Nichols asked. “I am really concerned we’re attacking all the poor people in town.”

According to health, plumbing and code inspectors’ reports, they found the building dangerous due to structural deterioration and unsafe due to many factors listed in the town’s findings including fire potential, little running water, unhealthy materials and the bathroom unusable, among other issues.

Code officers have sent letters to LaPlante asking that property be cleaned up since July 2008, and put a stop order on a building permit for an upper level due to the construction not being in compliance to building standards.

The exterior of the structure, located at the intersection of Park Street or Route 133, was littered with junk, various automobile and boat parts, demolition debris, pig manure, trash and garbage, according to Code Enforcement Officer Rob Overton’s report.

A chimney does not meet fire safety standards and is installed wrong, and the part that protrudes through the wall below the roofline appears to be charred from the exhaust, Overton wrote. Aluminum foil bridges missing sections or damaged stovepipe, his report states.

The upper structure built on top of the main structure appears to be leaning toward Park Street, he said. Its walls are buckling and it appears LaPlante has compromised the structural integrity of the original building by removing vital parts of the structure, he said.

The interior of the building is also littered with junk, garbage and there is a strong odor of animal feces and urine, he wrote.

The ceilings in each room are partially collapsed, the kitchen sink and countertops were full of trash and there was a significant mold problem, Overton said.

There was several inches of dirty water in the tub and the toilet flush mechanism did not work, he said. Most of the other rooms were in the same condition as the bath and kitchen, he stated.

Other inspectors filed similar reports as did Town Manager Jim Chaousis.

“This is the worse living situation I’ve ever seen,” Chaousis said. “This building needs to proceed as a dangerous building.”

“It is a matter of time before something happens. Either it falls down or burns down,” Overton said.

“If we have another $25,000, we should help them instead of tearing the building down,” Nichols said.

There has always been poor looking buildings in Livermore Falls and there are some good looking buildings in town, Nichols said.

Neighbor Darren Gile said the property is a fire hazard.

“The house itself is not structurally sound,” he said. “You can tell by looking at it the mold is too much. It needs to come down. It is uninhabitable.”

Roger LaPlante said he has been working on the building trying to clean it up. The chimney is coming down this summer and the pigs in the pen in the yard are going to be slaughtered, he said.

Nobody wants to see LaPlante put out, Gile said.

“I’d like Roger to get the help he needs,” Gile said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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