The city of Gardiner is taking a resident to court to reacquire a lot on Partridge Drive after the resident bought the property but didn’t build a house as was required by the purchase-and-sale agreement.

The city recently filed a complaint in Kennebec County Superior Court asking a judge to return the empty lot on the dead end street off West Street to the city because the buyer, Linda Adams, didn’t build a house by the March 27 deadline.

The city sold the 0.8-acre lot to Adams for $5,000 in September 2013 as part of an attempt to sell four lots on Partridge Drive that the city previously had taken from a developer for unpaid taxes. The goal of the selling process was to get the lots back on the city’s tax rolls and new houses built on them.

The city required the buyers to build houses valued at $150,000 or more with comparable styles and square footages to other homes on Partridge Drive.

Adams bought another one of the four lots for $4,000. Her husband, Mike Adams, built a house on it after the city extended the house completion deadline three times, and the couple now live in it. The house, which has a blue metal roof and no dormers breaking up the roof line, drew complaints from some neighbors who said it didn’t fit with the look of the street’s other homes.

Mike Adams asked councilors to extend the deadline for building on the second lot, but councilors denied his request. The city sent a buy-back letter to Linda Adams on April 4 to reacquire the property, but she has refused to sign the property back to the city, said City Manager Scott Morelli.

The city served the complaint filed in court to Adams on Aug. 3.

“We think this is pretty clear-cut,” Morelli said of the complaint.

Mike Adams said they think they should be able to keep the lot and build a house on it. He said he brought three different house plans to the city, but the city wouldn’t grant a permit. He said he thinks the time limit in which to build the house should have begun after he received a permit because otherwise the city could just delay issuing a permit.

But the city’s code officer, Barbara Skelton, said Adams brought one house plan to the council, which it approved, but he didn’t file for a building permit until March 9, less than a month from when the house was supposed to be completed.

The city couldn’t issue the building permit because Adams owed outstanding fees to the city, she said. Sometime after the deadline to build passed, the city voided the application, Skelton said.

Two brothers, Giuseppe and John di Majo, bought the other two vacant lots from the city in 2013.

They built a house on one of the lots after the city extended the deadline twice, Morelli said. After the city granted one extension for the second lot, the city reacquired the property because no house was built.

The city issued a request for proposals to buy that empty lot in September 2014 but received no bids. A neighboring property owner, Ronald Trahan, offered the city $5,000 for the lot, which the city accepted, Morelli said.

Trahan isn’t required to build a house on the lot, but if he does, it must be valued at $200,000 or more, have a shingled roof, attached or integrated garage, and dormers or gables if it’s a single story, Morelli said.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig

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