STRONG — Concerned residents have asked selectmen to address the long-standing safety hazards and unsightliness of a property at the head of North Main Street.

At their Tuesday night meeting, selectmen agreed they need to investigate several municipal junkyard issues, but this specific property has the most immediate and significant problems.

The property is at an intersection, and drivers going to or coming from either West Freeman Township or Kingfield can’t see oncoming traffic clearly before pulling into the intersection. Vehicles are parked on the edge of the road, which will present a problem for town plow trucks.

State law requires all municipalities to ensure that automobile graveyards, automobile recycling businesses and junkyards don’t impact the health and safety, general welfare and property values of other residents and property owners. Maine law also requires businesses to prove they are properly handling waste, such as mercury switches and mercury-added lamps, waste fluids, air-conditioning refrigerants, batteries and tires.

The edge of the property is along Valley Brook that runs into the Sandy River, requiring the owners to have a stormwater control plan.

Code Enforcement Officer Tom Marcotte told selectmen they need to seek legal counsel to move ahead with enforcement. He also will need a letter of authorization from selectmen to begin the enforcement process.

“If we’re going to go forward, we need something in writing,” Marcotte advised. “It’s my understanding you can be very selective in enforcement.”

Marcotte said having more than two unregistered vehicles on a property creates a junkyard. State and county police can address the problem of illegally parked vehicles. Selectmen will have to use money from the town’s legal account to take the owners to court, and Marcotte suggested $10,000 was the minimum for this situation.

Selectmen agreed to try less costly options before taking legal action.

“We should talk to them first,” Selectman Rodney Spiller said.

In other matters, Selectman Andy Pratt presented several applications for the full-time and part-time positions with the Highway Department. The board agreed to start interviews and make a decision soon.

American Glass has offered a reasonable bid to replace three windows in the Forster Memorial Building, according to Selectman Rodney Cook. He also contacted Northland Flooring to do some repairs.

The board approved the estimate of just under $3,200 for both jobs.

Fire Chief Duayne Boyd announced that Lt. Aaron Marden applied for and received confirmation the department will receive a $29,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. Marden, a nine-year veteran firefighter, has written several such grants and has brought more than $50,000 to the department, Boyd said.

FEMA’s Operations and Safety Grants help the department purchase much-needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources.


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