Citing numerous code violations including exposed wiring and a litany of other problems, the Sanford City Council declared this old home and barn at 335 Hanson's Ridge Road a dangerous building Tuesday. The action paves the way for the city to demolish it and bill the owner. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Citing numerous code violations including exposed wiring and a litany of other problems, the Sanford City Council declared this old home and barn at 335 Hanson’s Ridge Road a dangerous building Tuesday. The action paves the way for the city to demolish it and bill the owner. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

SANFORD — Exposed  electrical wiring, broken windows, missing stairway balusters, broken and missing plaster, no smoke detectors, animal waste throughout the home and a litany of others code violations prompted the City Council Tuesday to declare the 1850s Colonial farmhouse  at 335 Hanson’s Ridge Road a dangerous building.

Under state law, that means unless the owner moves to clean up the property, within 30 days, the city may take court action, demolish it and bill the owner for doing so.

The old farmhouse and attached barn were once in fine condition — but those days are in the distant past. The building was first deemed unfit for human habitation in 2008 and again in March and May of this year, said Codes Enforcement Officer Shirley Sheesley.

“It would take tons of money,” to make all the required repairs, she said. A list of violations discovered during her Oct. 6 inspection runs to two pages.

As well, the council cited another property for land use violations and accepted a quit claim deed on a third property Tuesday.

The three actions are a continuation of the city’s stance on cleaning up properties deemed to be unfit for habitation or violating land use codes.

Lorraine Belanger of Biddeford told the council she purchased the Hanson’s Ridge property in July 2015 for use by her  granddaughter and great-grandchildren, with a view to making renovations. She said she obtained a temporary occupancy permit, obtained a new hot water tank, got the well going and made other renovations.

“This wasn’t all caused by us,” she said regarding the property’s condition, noting she had just purchased the property a little more than a year ago.

Her family members didn’t sleep there last winter, Belanger said, adding that they returned to her home in mid-October.  She said some of her family had moved out of state, while another who had lived at the Hanson’s Ridge property was staying with her.

She said she has a purchase and sale agreement on the property, with a Dec. 15 closing date. She said the new owner plans to demolish the house and barn.

Dep. Mayor Maura Herlihy noted the barn is also unsafe, and noted the numerous violations in the home and barn. 

The City Council voted unanimously to move forward with declaring the property a dangerous building. 

As well, the council agreed to cite the owner of  the home at 11 Grammar St. for land use violations, citing vehicles used for storage, and violations at the entry and with the swimming pool. The property was purchased in October 2015 by Grammar Property Maintenance LLC.

The council approved acceptance of a quit claim deed from Raynald and Joan Lebel for the property at 6 Goodwin Court. The owners moved out in December 2014. The house burned in the spring of 2015. The owners told the council a year ago that they were unable to repair or demolish the property.

Councilor Fred Smith on Tuesday said now that the city owns the property, they will seek bids for demolition of the building.

Smith has been vocal about the condition of some homes in the city. 

“Last week I was in a property where there was no running water,” and the (tenants) had just moved out,” he said. 

Mayor Tom Cote pointed out that the city will continue to cite property owners.

“This is not the last one,” he said of the declaration of 335 Hanson’s Ridge Road as a dangerous building. He noted that although the buildings there were in sorry shape, trash strewn about outside “could have been picked up anytime,” by the owner.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: