FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed with Farmington Falls residents that something needs to be done about the building at 1158 Farmington Falls Road.

The board voted Tuesday to pursue the legal process to have the property demolished after determining it as dangerous under state statutes.

The property is owned by Stephen Edwards of Salem, Mass. Former owner Charles Crowell of Dennis, Mass., signed the property over to him in December.

The town received a petition in November from neighborhood residents asking the town to take action, Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser said. He inspected the property and concurred that it was a “dangerous building per Maine law.”

The petition said the property, then owned by Crowell, had “been vacant for five years or more.” 

There are issues with the chimney falling and “visible rot and access through the deteriorated walls and roof,” the petition said. It also questioned where the septic tank was or if there was one. It was signed by nine neighbors.

Concerns were raised because there are 10 children under the age of 12 living in the neighborhood.

“The property poses a huge danger to them,” the petition said.

“It’s falling apart,” Jodie Craig told the board Tuesday. “Something needs to be done.”

After his review, Kaiser notified Crowell of the petition and his findings on Nov. 25. He asked Crowell to voluntarily demolish the building and clear the property within 30 days. If not, the board could hold a public hearing and order demolition, Kaiser advised him.

There was no response from the owner, Kaiser said. The public hearing was set for Jan. 28 and Crowell was notified early in January.

Crowell, an attorney, responded, voicing concern about the town officer trespassing on his property and entering the building, which he said was locked.

The town’s code enforcement officer has the right to check on an issue regarding public health and safety, Kaiser responded.

“Within plain view of the road and abutting properties, I discovered evidence of abandonment of the subject structure and that it was a hazard to health and safety due to inadequate maintenance and dilapidation,” Kaiser wrote to him.

The building is open. There’s no secure lock, Craig said. That creates the potential for trespassing and children and animals easily getting it.

The building is abandoned and there’s been no tangible move toward compliance, Kaiser told the board.

The board could have the property fenced and posted, or pursue demolition, Kaiser said.

With the process expected to take 90 days, the board voted to move ahead on demolition.

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