The Town of Stockton Springs, a Rudman Winchell client, was successful in a recent Law Court case challenging the result of a municipal dangerous building proceeding.
Appellant Holly Beal owns a home in Stockton Springs. Following neighbor complaints, a code enforcement officer inspection and unsuccessful discussions with Ms. Beal, the Town initiated a dangerous building proceeding under title 17 section 2851 of the Maine Revised Statutes. After three days of hearings by the Town selectmen, the selectmen issued an order in May 2015, finding that the building concerned was “dangerous” as defined in section 2851, and ordering Ms. Beal to correct a list of items that contributed to the building’s dangerous condition. Ms. Beal appealed the selectmen’s order to Waldo County Superior Court, and later to the Maine Supreme Court (Law Court), alleging that the selectmen had committed due process violations and that the evidence at hearing was insufficient to support the selectmen’s findings. The case was argued at the Law Court on December 15, 2016. On January 12, 2017, the Law Court issued a 14 page, per curiam decision, unanimously upholding the selectmen’s decision.
The Law Court’s decision in Beal v. Town of Stockton Springs, 2017 ME 6, is linked here: http://www.courts.maine.gov/opinions_orders/supreme/lawcourt/2017/17me6be.pdf
In the past 20 years, Maine Supreme Court has issued only two decisions in appeals cases under the dangerous buildings statute.
In the earlier case, Kirkpatrick v. City of Bangor, 1999 ME 73, attorney John Hamer successfully argued for reinstatement of a municipal dangerous building decision that had been overturned by [then] Justice Kravchuk of the Penobscot County Superior Court. Attorney Hamer later joined Rudman Winchell and is now a partner in the firm’s municipal law practice group.
The Law Court’s decision in the Kirkpatrick case is linked here: http://www.courts.maine.gov/opinions_orders/opinions/documents/99me73ki.htm
Rudman Winchell invites municipal inquiries on dangerous building cases or other municipal matters.