Bristol may foreclose on as many as 26 properties if the owners don’t pay overdue taxes by Fri., Dec. 16.
The town also plans to dispose of three previously tax-acquired properties at public sale, Bristol Town Administrator Kristine Poland said.
The sale would be the first in Poland’s nearly 11-year tenure, she said. The properties include a private residence, a parcel of land and what appears to be an abandoned camp, she said.
The 26 properties in danger of acquisition represent a “much higher number than usual,” Poland said. She expects the banks holding mortgages on some of the properties to pay the taxes by the deadline in order to protect their interest.
Three additional landowners have agreed to enter into installment agreements to catch up on tax payments.
The Bristol Board of Selectmen discussed the disposition of the properties at its Nov. 30 meeting.
“I’m sure a few of these people would be able to qualify for poverty abatements, but they’re unwilling to apply,” Poland told selectmen.
The selectmen abated the tax bill for a 30th property and scheduled a special town meeting for Wed., Dec. 14, to waive foreclosure on a 31st, a mobile home.
Town officials said acquisition of a mobile home sometimes costs more than the entire amount of back taxes, as the foreclosure leaves the town responsible for lot rent.
Anytime the town acquires a property for non-payment of taxes, the former owner has the option to buy the property back for the amount of the tax bill.
The action results from concerns about the use of the Irvine School, at the corner of Sproul Hill Road and Kelley Street, by a local snowmobile club.
The club has a key to the building, has lag-bolted its sign to the building’s exterior and has moved a gas grill into the building, all without official permission, Poland said.
“Town-owned buildings need to be open to more than just one group,” Poland said.
It’s also unclear whether the club possesses liability insurance required by the town.
“Statutorily, we’re required to have an ordinance for use of town-owned buildings,” Poland said. “I think that it’s time that we need to follow up on that and have something ready for town meeting.”
“We have a lot of properties that are being used by outside entities,” Poland said.
Bristol Code Enforcement Officer Merle West issued notices of violation/orders for corrective action to Robert and Jeryl Kershner on June 20 and 21. The notices describe the construction of a greenhouse, a stone patio and a walkway without a permit and set a deadline of July 5 for the submission of a permit application.
The Kershners, through attorney Clifford Goodall, have denied committing the violations. The property is at 10 Yellowhead Road in New Harbor, a scenic area overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
In other business, the selectmen voted 3-0 to accept, with regret, the resignation of Ken Woodward from the Bristol Shellfish Committee, effective Nov. 28.