WOODLAND, Maine — A tax-acquired property on the Carson Road was the cause for heated debate among Woodland Selectpeople during their meeting last week at the town office.
Two Woodland residents attended the meeting claiming the property in question did not belong to Woodland and that another town resident owned the deed to the home.
“That is up to the resident to prove to us,” said Selectperson Carl Grant. “We have to sell the property as we acquire it.”
Selectperson Tom Drew expressed that he did not want the home on the land before the town sold it.
“If it’s not a good investment for the town of Woodland, then it’s not a good investment for anybody,” Drew said. “I get tired, as a representative from my town, to be putting up with the status quo. I’m accountable, and get paid for what I do, based on my title.”
There were also disagreements regarding the amount of acreage that comes with the property. Drew suggested going out and measuring the pin back to a neighboring property.
“That has nothing to do with us,” said Selectperson Peggy Espling. “None of that.”
“When we sell tax acquired property,” said Grant. “We have a letter stating that the buyer obtains it ‘as is.’”
“We’re going to end up owning it forever, then.” Drew said. “We need to go, as a town, and tear the house down. It’s a good move to make. When you have an opportunity to legally make your neighborhood a better place, then I think you should do it.”
Drew explained that the house is falling apart, it has no door, it is full of garbage, and that a kid could accidentally walk in and “prick their finger on an old bong or a needle.”
Drew made a motion to burn the house down. His reasoning was that the town of Washburn would do the same in this situation, that removing the home would improve the quality of the neighborhood, and that it would help Woodland discover if another resident truly does own the deed.
“It’s the best way to get proof of who owns the property.” Drew said.
Others disagreed with the motion, saying a Woodland resident potentially holding a deed is irrelevant since the town has already acquired the property, and also noting that, unlike Washburn, Woodland does not have its own fire department to tend to burning.
Drew asked if, as a town, they could “look into seeing how much it would cost to remove the home and sell the land. That’s a fair request.”
Espling did not want to dedicate any more of the town’s money to the home, saying, “I think we should just put it up for bid — with the house on it — as is.”
Drew agreed, albeit reluctantly, to put the home back up for bid and suggested the Selectpeople look into “what covers us if there’s an accident or someone gets hurt there.”