With demand letter to raze barn, deja vu all over again

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The dilapidated barn has been in selectmen's crosshairs for at least six months. (Lebanon Voice file photo)

MILTON - More than two months after selectmen drafted a letter giving the occupants of a dilapidated downtown building 30 days to raze the structure, yet another letter is being prepared saying pretty much the same thing.

Frustrated selectmen on Monday discussed various options seeking to force the occupants of the building, among them two sons whose mother who owned the building died without a will, to comply with the town's order.

Town Administrator Heather Thibodeau on Monday apprised the board that the town's legal counsel suggested they send out another letter giving the sons 30 days to remove the building, advertise selectmen's intent to have it razed for noncompliance and also that whoever ended up owning the home after probate would be responsible for all costs incurred by the town.

The sons have said they won't be able to afford probate costs for about six months, Thibodeau noted.

She added the that attorney advised advertising the newly drafted notice three times - once a week - in a local newspaper and also deliver the letter to the sons as well.

Selectman Mike Beaulieu asked that the matter be tabled until selectmen can meet with the town attorney on Jan. 9.

"There's too many loose ends," he complained after looking at the letter provided by town counsel. "We don't even know who owns the building."

In early October selectmen sent a similar letter to the sons, asking them to remove the unsafe eyesore located just south of Cumberland Farms at 545 White Mountain Hwy.

The decision to force its demolition initially surfaced in July, but the sons were given additional time to make promised renovations to make the building safe. Those improvements have not been fully completed, though it was agreed some progress had, indeed, been made.

They indicated they wanted to remove the second story of the barn and make the first floor livable.

A second portion of the building that connects the house to the barn would also be renovated and made safe, occupants of the residence added.

At an October selectmen's meeting Selectman Andrew Rawson said a letter to the brothers had already been drafted and approved by selectmen and would be sent pending approval by town counsel.

Once the letter was received, the brothers were to have 21 days to file an appeal or have the structure razed and debris removed within 30 days.

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