SPENCER – While local officials are concerned about the safety of a building at 31 Mechanic Street, the woman who is the heir of the late owner said the process of probating the matter is grinding through the courts and that she doesn’t believe she has any authority over the property until that process is complete.
Selectmen on Monday continued a public hearing from early November during which they could have ordered the building razed but Sharon Grieve of North Carolina told them fencing has been installed and her new attorney is making progress in probate court.
Grieve said that making the building structurally sound is likely to be less costly than tearing it down. She said she’s trying to address as many issues as she can to make the building sound but not everything is within her power yet and she eventually hopes to sell the property.
“Until it’s in my name, I can’t do anything to get it there,” she said, adding that she has no timeline for that nor does she know when the probate matter will be settled. She has been working with an engineer to determine how to proceed.
Selectman Ralph Hicks said he’d like the board to have a letter from the engineer stating that the building is structurally sound.
“Without that assurance, unless a miracle happens and you get everything done you need to do and the court does their end, we’re going to have to do something you may not like,” Hick said, asking the town’s building inspector whether that would suffice.
Jeffrey Blake, the town’s lawyer, said an administrator should have been appointed to administer the estate even before court proceedings. He said he would reach out to Grieve’s attorney to see where they are in the process.
There has been concern that the building, which stands on a corner lot and bears the name M. Lamoureux, 1915, could collapse.
On October 25, after noticing that one of the walls had appeared to separate from the structure, police closed the street and placed yellow tape around the structure fearing that a collapse was imminent.
The building was condemned some time ago and was listed as a derelict structure as far back as 2018.
Grieve said that since then, fencing has been erected around the building.
Selectman Jared Grigg said it’s obvious the building is dangerous but board member Gary Woodbury worried that making such a declaration without an opinion from an engineer might leave the town open for other issues.
Selectmen said they’d hold off on any decisions until their Dec. 18 meeting, after Blake is able to seek additional information including when the matter might be completed in probate court.