NORWAY — Selectmen unanimously agreed Thursday to schedule a special town meeting to determine what action they should take regarding the Opera House, which an engineer said is in imminent danger of collapsing onto Main Street.

Town Manager David Holt told the board that attempts to work with the building’s owner to ensure the safety of the three-story brick edifice have been unsuccessful. He said owner Barry Mazzaglia of Bitim Enterprises in Londonderry, N.H., has not satisfied the recommendations of an engineer hired by the town, has not attended meetings regarding the Main Street edifice, and has not complied with a court order to repair it.

While Holt said the town could seek action to hold Mazzaglia in contempt of court, he said another option would be to see if residents approve having the town use its power of eminent domain to obtain the building.

“I think that we’re running out of alternatives,” Holt said. “The engineer has told you that the building is in imminent danger of collapse.”

Holt said that while there have been no certain projections as to the lifespan of the Opera House, the situation was “worrisome.”

Last month, selectmen voted to begin negotiations with Mazzaglia over the possible sale of the Opera House within the framework of a $200,000 offer made by Selectman Bill Damon. The 1894 building is a distinctive part of the town’s historic downtown district.

Mazzaglia purchased the structure in 2003 for $225,000.

The upper floors have been vacant since the mid-1970s. Two first floor businesses left in September 2007 when a portion of the roof collapsed and burst a sprinkler pipe, causing flooding throughout the structure. Since that time, the town has voiced concerns about the stability of the imposing structure and the safety of neighboring buildings and passers-by.

A date for the special town meeting will be scheduled, based on the availability of the Forum at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris. Holt said the meeting articles would likely include questions of whether the town would accept Damon’s $200,000 donation toward the purchase; proceed with the use of eminent domain; and accept a Community Development Block Grant for the stabilization of the building if the town receives one.

If the town takes it by eminent domain, selectmen would consider a resolution declaring the need to acquire the property in the interests of public safety. The resolution also states that it would be in the public interest to take the Opera House “for the purpose of rehabilitating the property and in the future owning and operating the property or transferring it to a person, firm or corporation that could operate the property in its rehabilitated state to provide useful facilities to the public within the town of Norway.”

If the town takes the building, it would pay Mazzaglia the $185,000 appraised value as compensation.

Holt said it would cost an estimated $150,000 to $185,000 to shore up the structure. On Thursday, selectmen authorized Holt to send a letter of intent to apply for a CDBG grant of up to $150,000 through the Public Facilities Grant Program.

Holt said that if the town doesn’t get it, funds could be raised through donations or by seeking requests for proposals. He said if the town does not approve the use of eminent domain, selectmen could make a finding that the Opera House is dangerous, at which point Mazzaglia would have 30 days to repair the building before it would be torn down.

Selectman Russ Newcomb asked that the possibility of holding Mazzaglia in contempt of court remain an option. However, he said he would prefer to wait on the results of the special town meeting before pursuing that route.

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