CLINTON — For years — decades, even — the house at 1167 Main St. was seen as more than an eyesore in the community. It was the scorn of the area, and it was declared a dangerous building.

Now, after years of debate between the town and property owner Charles “Buddy” McIntyre, the house has been demolished. The town’s Board of Selectmen declared the building dangerous back in January after years of asking McIntyre to clean up and make improvements to the property. Their order to tear down the building ended the long battle, though on March 30 McIntyre appealed their decision at Kennebec County Superior Court.

The town asked that the appeal be dismissed, saying McIntyre had missed his window to appeal. McIntyre argued the town “didn’t have legal proper procedure, such as exterior warrant (sic), and administrative warrant (sic) to go in my home.” His appeal was dismissed.

McIntyre is responsible for the cost of the cleanup and has 18 months to cover it, according to Town Clerk Melody Fitzpatrick. The town’s code enforcement officer was not available to discuss when the house was torn down or what the cost to McIntyre is, and the town clerk and interim Town Manager Pam Violette were not in a position to discuss those issues either.

McIntyre could not be reached for comment.

Today the property is a vacant lot with no sign of the house that once stood there. Trees surround the perimeter and grass is growing long, but there are no signs that anyone once lived there.

McIntyre has owned the property since 1977, but the dilapidated building hadn’t had power since the end of 2017. McIntyre had been living in an apartment in Winslow since he was forced out of the house, but he contended he wanted to remain in the Clinton home. He has said he planned to make the necessary repairs, often citing health concerns as the reason for his inability to make improvements, but the green building had remained in rough shape for years.

During the meeting at which the building was declared dangerous, Code Enforcement Officer Frank Gioffre said he inspected the interior and exterior of the building and found it in a dilapidated state, with signs of rodents and rot throughout the house. The sky could be seen through the roof, he said, and extension cords were running along the floor throughout the house, creating an unsafe environment.

A structural engineer said the building was not safe to be in and was a fire hazard.

In January, McIntyre called the ordeal with the town “trauma to me” and said all he wanted was to stay in his home. With his limited income from Social Security, he didn’t think he’d be able to afford any apartment in the area.

In previous interviews and in public statements, McIntyre often contradicted himself, saying at one moment he just wanted to stay in his home, while later saying he wanted the town to buy him out of his property so he could leave.

“I’m a stranger in my own town,” he said this past winter. “I want to go and find another place to live. All I want is peace.”

In public meetings, abutters of the property spoke out against McIntyre, saying the property was a health and safety risk to the neighborhood and damaging their property values.

McIntyre has been at odds with the town and his immediate neighbors over the state of his property for years. He has claimed the town actively worked against him to force him out and tear his home down. He has argued that all he wants to do is stay in his home, but his opponents claim he has tried to make himself appear a victim while he let his property deteriorate. When the building was declared dangerous in January, multiple abutters came out to speak about the condition of McIntyre’s property, claiming it was an eyesore that also posed a risk to adjacent properties.

McIntyre had conceded in the past the home did need repairs, specifically the roof, which had holes in it that were covered with blue tarps.

He also said his belongings in the yard, some of which were stored in or around vehicles that have been repossessed, were not visually disruptive to neighbors. But dating back to the 1980s, McIntyre and the town had battled over the condition of his home and his right to keep what the town deemed to be an illegal junkyard.

McIntyre and the town have gone to court in the past, when the town tried in the 1990s to declare the home a dangerous building. In 1994, the two sides battled over McIntyre’s right to build a full-size gallows with a noose, which he built to demonstrate against what he perceived to be unfair treatment. The gallows were removed in 1998.

In 2006, the town ordered the demolition of McIntyre’s one-car garage. At the time, the town’s code enforcement officer wanted the garage declared a dangerous building, calling it structurally unsafe, unstable and hazardous. The garage had two big holes in its roof, the floor and sills had rotted and the building was pulling away from the house. McIntyre contended the building could be fixed. McIntyre was ordered to tear down the decaying garage, or else the town would demolish it at his expense.

McIntyre also maintains that a piece of land next to his property that was claimed by the town is still his. In 2007, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld a ruling by a lower court that gave Clinton title to a piece of property next to McIntyre’s. That land was the site where the gallows once stood, and McIntyre claimed it was his. The town succeeded in claiming the land as its own after failing to collect fees and fines from McIntyre.

McIntyre also has claimed that the town has treated him unfairly, as evidenced by the town repossessing a number of vehicles from his yard in mid-December. He says all the seized vehicles were registered properly and were on private property, so there were no grounds for taking them. He also claims that property of his was destroyed when the vehicles were taken.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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