Fort Kent officials consider options for excess trash outside homes

1 month ago

FORT KENT, Maine – Fort Kent town councilors discussed their options concerning excess trash outside of homes in town, citing resident complaints about the issue. The April 9 discussion did not result in any formal action from the council.

Councilor Jake Robichaud said a resident reached out about the issue. The resident shares a driveway with a neighbor whose trash started to spill over onto his property.

“What rules do we need to change so we can address these problem properties?” Robichaud said.

Fort Kent Town Manager Suzie Paradis said she would discuss the matter with Fort Kent Police Chief Michael DeLena, who is also the town’s health officer. 

Robichaud asked if the town had any rules about this, and Paradis said that Fort Kent did not have any zoning rules specifically for trash. She said the town’s only option at the moment is to have DeLena look into complaints as a health enforcement agent, adding that he is very limited in what he can do.

“Our employees and volunteers have gone into some of these places, and there is nothing they can do about it,” Paradis said. ”If we condemn it, it becomes our problem and then we have to tear it down.”

This process could cost the town tens of thousands of dollars.

Paradis said the town is also not able to issue citations for littering in cases of excess trash outside a home, as long as the garbage is on the homeowner’s property.

In order to change the current ordinance, Paradis said it would need to go to the planning board. The planning board would then have to agree on verbiage defining what is considered littering or garbage.

“And then it has to come before the town council, and it has to go back before the planning board, and then a public hearing, and then you either have a special town meeting or wait for the regular town meeting for this to pass as an ordinance,” she said.

Councilors agreed that it would be good to begin this process, however no formal motions were made during the meeting. 

This story was updated to correct Fort Kent Police Chief Michael DeLena’s title.