Furniture, appliances and other items surround a home at 8 West Freeman Road in Strong. Selectmen said Tuesday they may take legal action to clean up the property. Valerie Tucker photo

STRONG — Selectmen agreed Tuesday night that legal action may be taken against the owner of a dilapidated property at 8 West Freeman Road, but they will first assess the cost.

Without zoning laws or ordinances governing such situations, selectmen may have to address the increasing number of complaints from residents through the courts.

Selectman Rod Spiller said residents didn’t want laws to force people to keep their properties in good repair, but the long-term effects spread to everyone else.

“Our hands are tied,” he said.

Spiller said he’s concerned about long-term economic consequences if property values go down and people move away and new families don’t move to the area.

“If you want to maintain your population, you have to maintain some order, in my opinion,” he said.

The property of Lorraine Lagasse has dozens of vehicles, campers appliances, furniture and broken equipment. A sign reads: “Year Round Yard Sale.”

Campers and vehicles parked at a home at 8 West Freeman Road. in Strong have raised complaints from residents about environmental and safety hazards. Selectmen said Tuesday that they may take legal action to clean up the property. Valerie Tucker photo

The acreage extends from the intersection with North Main Street to Bean Brook, which flows into the Sandy River.

Board Chairman Rob Elliott said the owner had seven pickup loads of debris removed after selectmen visited the property a couple of weeks ago.

Selectmen were encouraged by the activity, but junk vehicles and campers present the potential for leaking hazardous fluids into the ground.

According to Maine law, property owners with two or more unregistered vehicles are required to get a license to operate a junkyard. They also must prove that old batteries, gasoline, oil and other hazardous wastes are not leaching into the ground and nearby bodies of water.

Residents have called selectmen and the Town Office to express their frustration with the debris and hazards when vehicles from the property are parked on the road and in front of the stop sign at the intersection.

Selectmen reviewed a letter from an unnamed resident who asked them to take action after the writer nearly hit a vehicle parked on the road in the dark.

Code Enforcement Officer Tom Marcotte said he can take action when selectmen decide it’s necessary.

In other matters, Selectman Andy Pratt said Keith Dubuc will start work with the highway department soon and get on-the-job training from foreman Duayne Boyd. Dubuc is employed by Thorndike & Sons Inc. in Strong and has given a two-week notice.

Selectman Rodney Cook said he ordered a winter’s supply of pellets from Lignetics of Maine in Strong for the Forster Memorial Building, which uses a combination of pellets and oil for heat.

He said $269.50 for 110 gallons of heating oil provides the same output as a ton of pellets at $184.

The Forster building houses the Town Office and library, meeting rooms, a large hall, a basement kitchen and a dining room.

Cook served on the town Energy Committee, which presented a savings plan at the March 2011 town meeting. Voters approved raising and appropriating $3,620 as a 10 percent match for an Efficiency Maine weatherization grant. The $36,200 was used to insulate sections of the Forster Memorial Building and the fire station. They also appropriated $25,000 as a 50 percent match to get a Maine Forest Service grant to purchase a wood pellet boiler.

Cook said he hopes to calculate savings over the past eight years, based on the $85.50 difference between oil and pellet fuel.


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: