News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 13, 2014
Eviction imminent for Mill Pond Lane tenant

by Faith DeAmbrose

The attorney for the town of Blue Hill has been instructed to work with the Hancock County Sheriff to arrange for the eviction of Dorothy Leighton from the Mill Pond Lane house she has occupied for decades, according to members of the board of selectmen at their March 7 meeting.

A specific date for the eviction has not been given, and the selectmen have handled the conversations regarding Leighton and the property in executive session.

Leighton disagrees with the selectmen about her situation and in a letter dated March 1 and addressed to the board of selectmen, she continued to express her frustration. The letter was not released by the board, but was later sent to The Weekly Packet by Leighton.

The property and its tenant in possession have a long history that includes more than 20 years of non-payment of taxes, a trail of court decisions that leads to the state’s highest law court and a writ of eviction awarded to the town of Blue Hill in 2009.

Since the writ of eviction was granted to the town, there have been a number of court challenges, as well as attempts by the board to arrange for another domicile for Leighton. There also have been attempts by others to raise the funds to pay the back taxes or to arrange for other means to keep Leighton in her home. Those attempts have been unsuccessful.

The tipping point, say selectmen, is the fact that there is no running water in the house, and the damage it sustained during the December ice storm has left the house virtually uninhabitable.

Leighton disagrees with the contention that her house is unlivable, and in the March 1 letter, she blames, in part, a “lack of communication” and “overreaction” by the selectmen in dealing with the situation. “When my water pipes burst after Christmas last year, you pushed the panic button again,” she wrote. “Yes, I need my bathroom floor repaired, but it is not in immediate danger of falling in to the kitchen. Not only that, you are under the misguided impression that in order to replace the pipes, walls would have to be torn down before any work could be done. This not the case.”

Leighton added: “This whole situation has dragged on and on when it might have been settled a lot quicker if you had just been open and willing to work with me. I know you do not want the responsibility of this place, or of feeling responsible for me, but you have never had a clear stand on your responsibility where me/my house is concerned. You have said you have responsibility, and you have said you don’t have it. I do not need or want you to be responsible for me. I just want a chance to correct things with the town and be able to live in this house.”

According to selectmen, the town’s attorney and the sheriff will work with the best outcome for Leighton in mind, but the eviction is likely to occur during March.