WILTON — Selectmen unanimously agreed Tuesday to start the process to claim the former Forster Manufacturing mill at 516 Depot St. as a dangerous building.

It has been a year since representatives for owner Adam Mack have worked on a solution to demolish the remaining building, Town Manager Rhonda Irish told the board.

The most recent intent was to bring a plan for demolition before the Planning Board. But last week, the current representative told Irish that Mack has not supplied enough money for demolition.

For a state-approved, reputable company to undertake the demolition work, Mack’s representative estimated the cost at $250,000 to $350,000. 

The representative has only been given about $30,000 from Mack, Irish said.

Further, a recent inspection of the site revealed that expected revenue from reclaimed metal and wood to help with demolition costs is not there, she said. It’s gone and what is there is not of great value.

“I’m tired of this,” Selectman Terry Brann said. “The citizens are tired of this.” 

The board agreed to take the next step: civil action. 

According to Maine law,  municipal officers can claim a building or structure that is “structurally unsafe, unstable, unsanitary, constitutes a fire hazard … unsuitable for use or occupancy… or otherwise dangerous to life or property,” as a dangerous building. They can serve the owner and any lien holders notice, along with a request for the owner to dispose of the building. The town can also seek an order of demolition by filing a complaint with the Franklin County Superior Court, according to the law.

Mack, who is currently serving time in prison in New York, is expected to be there until October, Irish said when asked about serving him notice.

There are some lien holders and other businesses that have not been paid for their work on the property that will also be notified.

The town will seek to reclaim legal fees, she said.

Board members discussed the potential for the town leveraging the land value to help with demolition costs, if the town has to take the building down. 

Irish was asked to put together information on the size of the property and its value for the board.

The board has previously voted to not foreclose on the property for unpaid taxes to avoid town responsibility for demolition.

After attempts to sell the building did not materialize, Mack with Ryan Byther of Downeast Construction approached the selectmen and the Planning Board in the spring of 2011 with a plan to tear it down and recycle building materials in preparation for future development of the land.

Demolition was halted in July 2011 when Department of Environmental Protection testing revealed high levels of asbestos, disturbed by the demolition work. Some abatement or containment work followed that fall.

Asbestos abatement work at the site started in July 2012 with strong urging from Maine DEP.

Mack, under his company name, Wilton Recycling LLC, agreed to pay $7,500 in fines in an agreement with DEP in December 2012 for failure to conduct asbestos inspections and abatement at the mill.

Byther also faced censure by DEP, but his incarceration on an unrelated embezzlement charge at that time hampered the effort.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: