LIVERMORE FALLS — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday turned down a Haines Corner Road resident’s request to waive the sewer ordinance.
Thomas Randall was seeking to host wedding receptions at a barn on his property. He had requested a variance of four or five years in order to allow him time to get his business off the ground before installing bathrooms.
In the meantime, Randall said, portable restrooms would be used at the site.
Code Enforcement Officer Rob Overton said the state’s internal plumbing rules determine how many plumbing fixtures depending on how many people are using a facility.
“My concern is it’s a slippery slope when you start making exceptions to state-mandated rules,” he said.
Randall said he had a seating capacity of 200 at the barn.
Overton said that Randall would have to go through site plan review by the Livermore Falls Planning Board. Randall noted he was planning to host summer events.
“I have people lined up that want to rent the barn,” he said. “I have already talked to the (state) fire marshal to see what he needs, and we’re on the same page.”
“The issue is (portable restrooms) aren’t an allowable replacement for a septic system,” said Overton.
“It takes time to engineer these projects,” Randall responded. “I’ve already piddled away over a year putting in phone calls to state agencies and having unanswered voicemails and phone calls.”
Overton said he would not have an issue with portable restrooms being used as permanent bathrooms were being installed.
“I don’t believe we should be allowing businesses to see if they’re viable before going through all of these steps,” he said. “It is also a health issue.”
He encouraged Randall to submit a site plan review to the Planning Board.
In another matter, Overton requested clarification from selectmen regarding what changes they wanted in the town’s dangerous-building ordinance. There are a number of properties in town that could be defined as dangerous buildings under state law, he said.
Overton said his concern was if letters get sent out to property owners of dangerous buildings ordering them to tear them down, the town has to follow through. This could get expensive, he said.
“I don’t want to be the one to initiate a $50,000 demolition fee without some sort of approval,” Overton said.
Selectmen tabled the matter pending review by the Planning Board.
On another matter related to public safety, Selectman Tom Barker said that at a recent fire in the eastern part of Livermore Falls (known as East Livermore), he was first on the scene to assist. Several others also arrived to help, but no fire truck arrived until the residence was fully engulfed.
“If I could have had a truck when I was there, I could have saved the building,” he said.
For years, Barker said, he has advocated for a fire station in East Livermore. He recalled that his father had put together a plan for a fire station there.
Interim Town Manager Stephen J. Gould responded that there have been some problems with dispatching due to a new system mandated by the state.
“It’s not like they’re not doing their job,” he said, defending the dispatchers. “It’s just different than it used to be.”
Gould said that dispatchers are given a code with a letter, depending on the type of call, and must follow a step-by-step protocol.
Livermore Falls Town Office. (File photo)