Derelict property faces razing in Presque Isle

The Star City’s quest to eradicate derelict properties now involves another site.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Star City’s quest to eradicate derelict properties now involves another site.

The Presque Isle City Council voted to declare a house at 45 Elm St. a nuisance and dangerous building during its regular meeting on June 1.

Over the past few years, the city and property owners have addressed several locations, including an apartment complex at 14 Park St., which was demolished last summer. The Elm Street building has been an issue since 2019, said Code Enforcement Officer Tim St. Peter, who urged the council to declare the building dangerous so he can give the owner 30 days to form a plan to address the issues.

St. Peter showed the council several photographs. Some taken in 2020 show a cracked foundation, an exterior wall split at the corner, signs of rot and trees overgrowing the structure. Interior shots show a fallen-down ceiling and extensive litter throughout. St. Peter said he took a second batch of photos earlier Wednesday, and not much had changed.

“These pictures we’re looking at were taken two years apart and they’re virtually identical,” said Council Chairman Kevin Freeman.  

On top of the structural issues, the building is not secure and has been broken into at least twice, according to St. Peter.

Code enforcement has dealt with violations at the vacant house for two years, including foundation cracks, a leaking roof and piles of garbage, according to department officials.

The owners told former Code Enforcement Officer George Howe in 2019 they would demolish the building. Taxes from 2021 are still due and the property is valued at $53,900, city officials said. 

The owners were then supposed to demolish the building last summer, but did not, City Manager Martin Puckett said. The house has never been formally declared a dangerous property.

“I say we do what we can do to put this thing to bed right away,” said Councilor Jeff Willette. “It’s got to go, like yesterday.”

The council voted 6-0 to declare the structure dangerous and require the owners to abate all conditions within 30 days to the satisfaction of the code enforcement officer. Should they fail to do so, they would be assessed a penalty of $100 per day, and the city manager would arrange for building demolition and removal.

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