CHINA — A family living in what town officials considered dangerous quarters has moved to Mount Vernon, leaving the town to decide what to do with the mobile home and two outbuildings on Fire Road 60.

A Superior Court judge has given the town permission to bulldoze all three structures, although the town is entertaining an offer from a neighbor who may save the town money by buying the property from the family and tearing down the buildings himself, China Code Enforcement Officer Scott Pierz said.

Pierz said while the town weighs its options, Judith Farris, 70, and four other family members have found a mobile home in Mount Vernon that fits their needs. In mid-February, Farris signed a notice of demolition that gave her until March 1 to move out.

“Mrs. Farris is excited to have a new home,” Pierz said.

No one was at the China home Thursday, and Farris’ son-in-law, Larry Ratcliff, did not respond to a cellphone message.

The demolition notice followed a decision by Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy who declared that the buildings created “an immediate and serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare of the public and current inhabitants of the buildings.”

Pierz estimated that the town spent more than $5,000 on legal fees, which it is seeking to recover by placing a lien on the property. He did not know how much it would cost the town to demolish the buildings and have the refuse hauled to a landfill.

The town took the issue to court in November when Farris and her family did not move out. Selectmen voted in August to deem the structures dangerous.

An inspection last year showed no running water, mold, and holes in the floors and ceilings, among other issues. Neighbors had complained to the town about junked vehicles and trash outside the property off and on dating back to 2004, records show.

Pierz said he worked with local rental agencies to find a new home for the family and that the Salvation Army and a local minister have helped by providing kitchenware and other items to help the family get settled.

Susan Cover — 621-5643
[email protected]

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