The City of Sanford has moved quickly to address the danger posed by the old Jagger Mill building, which partially collapsed after a storm in early December. The City’s Land Bank Authority has been attempting to work with the owners to address issues with the property since 2018. The property taxes have not been paid since that year.
Ian Houseal, Sanford’s Director of Community Development, told members of the Land Bank Authority on Tuesday that the structure has been moving and was in danger of further collapse, potentially into the Mousam River, which runs directly behind the property. He said it was fortunate that the asbestos in the building had been removed just three weeks before the collapse. If that had not been done, the entire debris pile would have had to have been treated as asbestos, and the cost to remove it would have been immense.
Inspection of the building revealed hazardous waste, including an oil spill. Mr. Houseal worked with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Emergency Response team to address it as quickly as possible. A refrigeration reclamation company was also called in to deal with several large refrigeration units in the building, which were removed to the separate bunker building.
The property owners have complained that insufficient notice was given to them to remove equipment from the building before demolition; however, Mr. Houseal showed the Commission the Notice to Claim Covered Property, which was sent to the owners and their attorney in August of last year, along with a Notice of Violation. He said that if the owners want to reclaim any of the equipment, they must show good faith by paying part of the back taxes owed. The demolition contract allows the contractor to take any metal or other salvage from the building, as it is considered abandoned property.
The demolition work was done this week by Guillemette Brothers. The property owners will be billed for all costs associated with assessing, securing and demolishing the structure, as well as related legal fees. Including back taxes, the estimate of the amount owed exceeds $31,000. This does not include the costs for removal and disposition of the debris, or legal fees.