Wilton board seeks legal action on five properties

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WILTON — The Board of Selectpersons unanimously agreed Tuesday to have an attorney notify five propery owners that they are in violation of the Property Maintenance Ordinance.

The ordinance gives the town authority to tell owners of unkempt properties what they need to do to bring it into compliance. It was proposed to address complaints about potential decreases in surrounding property values and overall harm to the town’s economy.

Certified letters were sent in June to the five property owners in the downtown area, listing actions to be taken within 30 days. Three of the five have made some progress. One has worked steadily to prepare his property for sale, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said.

There was some cleanup at a Main Street property and brush work and cleanup done at a vacant, former convenience store. One property, previously considered abandoned is not, she said.

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The fifth property, now owned by a mortgage company, has ignored previous requests, she said.  

If the attorney’s letters do not bring compliance, then the cases will be taken to a court.

Property owners have the right to appeal the board’s decisions but none have, Irish said.

Selectpersons discussed asking owners to come to a meeting and discuss their plans or have the code enforcement officer contact them and work with them. 

Resident Michael Wells said, “The purpose for the ordinance is to maintain and improve the property values of everyone, not help out the property owner. It is not the town’s responsibility to baby-sit (these property owners).” 

As someone who has invested about $200,000 in Wilton properties this year, he said he did not want to hear other options, such as providing them with lists of contractor names and phone numbers or helping and guiding them through the work.

“He is right,” Chairman Tiffany Maiuri said. She moved to act on all five properties.

Property owners may seek a 180-day extension if there are extenuating circumstances.

abryant@sunmediagroup.net

Wilton, Maine

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