WILTON — Selectmen declared a Webb Avenue house a dangerous building and are giving the homeowner up to 45 days to clean up the property and demolish the building.

A public hearing on the 30 Webb Ave. house was held before selectmen unanimously voted Tuesday night to begin the legal process of issuing a corrective notice to the homeowner. Selectmen also discussed adding an amendment to the town property ordinance that regulates abandoned buildings, though it wasn’t specifically related to the Webb Avenue house.

If the owner doesn’t meet the 45-day deadline, the town will move forward itself with corrective action. The cost then would be added to the owner’s property tax bill.

The public hearing drew about 20 residents, many of whom live in the Webb Avenue neighborhood. Neighbors of the property said they are concerned about the health and aesthetic problems posed by the building, which has not been occupied since 2009.

“I live across the street and look at that house every morning as I read my newspaper,” Ted Soucey said. “It’s just full of mold.”

Code Enforcement Officer Adam Cote said the property is beyond feasible repair. A tree had fallen into the roof, creating a hole that has not been repaired, allowing the elements to enter the building and making it structurally unsound.


With rainwater and snow entering the building, mold has spread through the house, Town Manger Rhonda Irish said, adding that there may also be traces of asbestos in the flooring and siding, though testing has not been done.

The house is owned by Shirley Thompson, though she said at Tuesday’s public hearing that she has not been to it in four years.

Once Thompson receives the corrective action notice, she will have 30 to 45 days to demolish the building and clean up the property, including the removal of vegetation and the extermination of animals that have entered the home.

Mold remediation probably will have to be done before demolition of the building, Irish said. The selectmen tasked Cote with overseeing the corrective process to make sure all town and state codes are followed.

Several residents said they are concerned about the health problems the mold might pose.

Neighbors said the mold has caused an odor they can smell on their own property.


“We do not go out on the deck during the summer months because of the stench,” said Valerie Soucey, who lives next door to 30 Webb Ave. “I don’t have the use of my property that I should.”

Thompson said she has sent people to the house to take care of the hole in the roof and to do yard work in past years, but said they were unable to finish the work because they were harassed by people coming onto the property. She did not report the harassment to the police.

Thompson said her health is the reason she was not able to be at the property “100 percent of the time.”

“They are within their rights to complain, and I would too; but it’s not all one-sided, that I didn’t try to do anything,” Thompson said.

Property taxes on the home are up to date, according to Irish. However, at the meeting Thompson said the mortgage company has approached her about foreclosing, and she may let it do so.

If the home is foreclosed on, the company would be responsible for the corrective action.


In other business, selectmen reviewed drafted amendments to the town’s property maintenance ordinance that target abandoned buildings.

The amendments, drafted by the Ordinance Committee, included requiring owners of abandoned buildings to register the building with the town and provide a contact person whom the town can reach if problems arise.

The draft amendments also include requirements for upkeep of abandoned buildings, including protecting the property, from intrusion and from the weather. It also sets requirements for maintenance lawn mowing and painting.

Selectmen said they were pleased with the amendments and voted to send them back to the Ordinance Committee to clearly define what “regular mowing” is as well as apply the specific definitions outlined the abandoned property amendments to the existing occupied building section of the property maintenance ordinance.

In April, the board was approached by resident Mark Shibles, who urged the town to adopt an abandoned property ordinance, arguing that abandoned properties discourage business because they give a negative look to the town, especially in the downtown areas.

In order for the ordinance to be amended, the amendments must be approved by residents at Town Meeting. Irish said they probably will be brought before voters in June 2017.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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