Hinesburg-based Clark Excavating began court-ordered demolition of 477 Gilman Road last week and continued working at the site into this week. The demolition comes years after neighbors began complaining to the town of vermin running loose – particularly rats – and trash, vehicles and other items piling up on the property.
Four abandoned vehicles, a home and other collapsed structures, along with a large quantity of trash, littered the property before the work began, as seen from the road and described in court documents.
The property is owned by Sheridan Lane; prior to demolition she was believed to be living in one of the structures that still had an intact roof. As of Tuesday, all structures on the property have been torn down.
Since the court order dated Feb. 26, town officials have been working with Lane to find her a place to live and help her through this transition, said Assistant Town Administrator Joy Grossman. There was no court-appointed advocate or lawyer for Lane. Grossman said last week she had had contact with Lane.
“I have chatted with her, and I can’t do any more,” Grossman said.
Prior to the demolition start on May 29, Grossman was on site as a contractor remediated asbestos. She said she took in the condition of the property before excavation began.
“There were no rats” as she observed the work, Grossman said.
The court order states that the town government is permitted “to take all reasonable steps” necessary to remove structures, abandoned vehicles, garbage and vermin from the property.
Court documents also say that Lane is responsible for paying the town back for all of the costs associated with the “investigation and mitigation of the public health risk.”
That’s adding up. The contract awarded by the town to Clark Excavating was for $16,000, which did not cover costs for asbestos remediation.
Grossman said the demolition would take a few days on May 29. As of June 5, all of the structures were torn down. Three large, full trash containers and two cars were visible on the property.
Clark Excavating was continuing to clean up the property at press time Wednesday. It was not clear whether Lane was able to continue living on the site.