2016-09-26 / Front Page

OOB to sell dilapidated house – with stipulations

By LIZ GOTTHELF Staff Writer


The town of Old Orchard Beach is selling this property at 19 Fern Ave., with the stipulation that the house either be renovated or demolished and a new house built on the lot. 
LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune The town of Old Orchard Beach is selling this property at 19 Fern Ave., with the stipulation that the house either be renovated or demolished and a new house built on the lot. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune OLD ORCHARD BEACH — The town is selling a neglected ranch house at 19 Fern Ave. with the stipulation that the buyer fix up the property or build a new home on the lot.

The 982-square-foot, single family, one-story home sits a few blocks from the beach on a little more than 1/10 of an acre, and was acquired by the town due to unpaid taxes.

Taxes have not been paid on the house since 1997, and back taxes plus interest add up to more than $59,000. The town declared it uninhabitable about a year and a half ago, said Town Manager Larry Mead at last week’s Town Council meeting.

Although the property is assessed at about $67,600, Mead said the town could probably expect to get about $50,000, or the value of the land, from the sale of the property.

According to town officials, the roof is structurally deficient, electric wiring is not up to code, and there is significant water damage. The house would need a total renovation, but demolishing it would probably be more practical, according to town officials.

“I guess it’s potentially feasible that someone would want to rehabilitate the house, but I can’t imagine that anyone would want to do that,” said Mead.

Mead said the town has received a number of inquiries from interested parties. There have been some who inquired about parking, but he didn’t think that was the best use of the space, he said .

Mead said properties in the neighborhood have been selling at about $250,000, and that it was feasible that if a new home was built on the property, it could be valued at around $300,000.

If it becomes a vacant lot, it would be taxed at land value, which is currently about $50,000, said Mead.

Mead asked the council to allow the town to sell the property with conditions that it could only be used for residential use, that it could not be used as a short-term rental property with rental agreements of less than a month, and that within one year, the new owner must demolish the house or make “substantial” progress in the renovation of the home.

The council voted four to one, with Councilor Shawn O’Neill opposing, to allow the sale of the property with stipulations.

O’Neill said he was concerned that the town had an “unfair advantage” over a private seller by the ability to put the stipulations in the sale.

Councilor Joseph Thornton said if the town could find a buyer who was willing to abide by the stipulations, it would be “better for us in the long run,” as the town would get more tax revenue and it would make the neighborhood look better.

“I think it’s worth a shot trying to sell it,” he said, adding that if the town couldn’t sell the property with the stipulations, it could revisit the matter later.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

Return to top