Neighbor wants abandoned property addressed

TREMONT — A resident asked selectmen if they could do something about a run-down trailer at a Tremont Road property he says has become a hazard.

At their Tuesday meeting, selectmen agreed to reach out to the current property owner, who lives out of state, to give notice of a future hearing regarding the property.

Chris Keith had visited Town Manager Chris Saunders recently to discuss a dilapidated house trailer at 916 Tremont Road. Keith lives next door. After Code Enforcement Officer John Larson inspected the property, town officials agreed it is structurally unsafe and may pose a hazard.

“My fear is foxes and raccoons may make it home over the winter,” Keith told selectmen. He has a chicken coop at his property next door.

“It needs to be cleaned up. Something needs to be done.”

Selectmen agreed to contact the current property owner.

“What kind of legal can of worms do we open up going after properties like this?” selectman Mike Mansolilli asked.

Saunders said the board had with four options: providing notice of a hearing, filing a lawsuit in Superior Court, filing a complaint with the court or doing nothing. Selectmen opted for the hearing to give the property owner a chance to speak about the property.

“If you choose to do this, you have to invite the property owner no matter what,” Saunders said.

Selectman Jamie Thurlow then asked if taking action obligates the town to assess other questionably safe properties. Saunders assured him this was the only case they were addressing.

Selectman McKenzie Jewett asked whether a public health officer was necessary in this case. Saunders said there were no people in danger, so the question goes to the code enforcement officer. He has already deemed the property unsafe.

“At least we’ll have a discussion with [the owners],” chairman Kevin Buck said, “and see if we can resolve this without going any further.”

Buck asked Town Clerk Katie Dandurand if taxes on the property were currently paid. She confirmed the taxes were current through the most recent fiscal year.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had Keith’s last name as Keefe. The town’s official meeting minutes also have the name that way.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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