More than a year after one of the buildings damaged in the 2015 Water Street fire in Gardiner was purchased with a plan for development, city officials want to have the structure declared a dangerous building.

In the 14 months since Ed Raws bought 235 Water St., nothing appears to have been done to the building.

“It has sat vacant and there have been no attempts to protect it or secure it,” Barbara Skelton, Gardiner’s code enforcement officer, said Monday.

The roof appears to be open, Skelton said, and nothing is protecting the building from the weather.

When they meet Wednesday, Gardiner elected officials will decide whether to make an initial dangerous building determination. That step is only the first in a process that may lead to the demolition of the building.

The property, consisting of a building and a vacant lot, sits just to the west of Gerard’s Pizza at 233 Water St. Gardiner property records show that Raws, Patricia McLaughlin and Oceanside Realty Trust are the owners. The property and land are valued at $64,200.

When he bought the building, Raws said he was planning with partners to develop a bar in the building and a deck with outdoor seating — much like the design of the Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell — with a projected opening day of May of that year.

No work was started. At some point after the purchase, a for-sale sign was posted on the property, but Raws said at the time it had been posted in error.

At about the same time, District 1 City Councilor Terry Berry bought the two buildings adjacent to Raws’ building and has been working to rehabilitate the smoke- and water-damaged structures. He has secured a grant through the Community Development Block Grant program to fix up the front of the buildings.

“We’ve been trying to get a handle on this,” Skelton said, “but we haven’t been able to get much information from the owner.”

City officials sent a letter to the owner in February, according to the City Council information sheet, and the city agreed to wait until May 9 to see whether a property sale was imminent. That deadline passed last week with no word.

Calls to Raws were not returned Monday.

“The building is as it was the day of the fire,” Gardiner Main Street Executive Director Patrick Wright said. “It’s open to the elements and it will continue to deteriorate unless some action is taken.”

The City Council is also scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2019 city budget and start debate on its spending priorities.

Elected officials are also expected to consider:

• Creating an ad hoc E911 Committee to complete the addressing project

• Hear a request for naming a street

• Hold a public hearing and second and final read of proposed changes to the appeal procedure in the Land Use Ordinance

• Hold a public hearing and second and final read of proposed changes to the hours of operation listed in the Land Use Ordinance

• Approving a credit enhancement agreement with Johnson Hall Redevelopment LLC

• Creating a dog park on city-owned property

• Granting a special event permit for the Greater Gardiner River Festival

• Discussing the ongoing maintenance of the boilers in City Hall

• Appointing Ariel Ziemer to the Housing Committee, Deborah Sparrow to the Gardiner Public Library Board of Trustees, Ed Lawrence to the Board of Appeals, Dennis Doiron to the Board of Assessment Review and Justin Young to either the Historic Preservation Commission or the Economic Development Committee

• Approving victualer’s licenses for 2018

• Renewing the liquor license for Cobbossee Aerie #4330.

Two executive sessions are scheduled for the start of the meeting, one to discuss with Developers Collaborative its Summer Street option agreements and one to discuss the search for a permanent city manager.

The Gardiner City Council meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council chamber at 6 Church Street.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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