VASSALBORO — Selectmen on Thursday endorsed a proposal they hope will resolve problems of back-taxes and foreclosure with the Coyote Ridge subdivision.

However, residents Michael Farrell and Charles O’Neal still need to get the town Planning Board and the state Department of Environmental Protection to agree.

The subdivision off Riverside Drive was originally approved in October 2006 for 20 lots served by an interior road 3,600 feet long.

The original developer, Leo Purington, later sold the entire subdivision. The new owner did not build the road to town specifications or in the approved location.

His failure led to confrontations with town and state officials, resulting in lots whose owners cannot get a town building permit and an unpaved road in such bad condition that Farrell, O’Neal and their neighbors had trouble finding anyone willing to plow it this winter.

Now, back taxes have amassed on nine unsold lots owned by Ron LaVallee’s JKP Properties and the town is set to foreclose on the lots in February, said Town Manager Mary Sabins. LaVallee said he does not intend to pay, she said.


Farrell and O’Neal asked selectmen to foreclose and then sell the lots to them for $1 apiece. They will declare the lots unbuildable — because of wetlands, that may be true — and thus reduce the subdivision from 20 to 11 lots.

If the Planning Board and state environmental regulators will waive the requirement to pave the road, a requirement that Farrell thinks applies to a 20-lot subdivision but not to an 11-lot subdivision, other people who own lots will be able to get building permits and the homeowners will maintain a gravel road, Farrell said.

Farrell and O’Neal also asked selectmen to forgive the back taxes owed on the nine lots. In return, they promised that future taxes will be paid and selectmen will no longer have to listen to their grievances.

Selectmen have heard from Farrell and O’Neal frequently and have incurred legal costs trying to bring the subdivision into compliance. Although they have won in court, JKP Properties apparently has no money to pay judgments, board Chairman Philip Haines said.

Board members unanimously endorsed the plan as outlined. Farrell said he would have an attorney draft an agreement.


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