Residents of a Brunswick mobile home park who were forced to ration water during the coldest parts of the winter are now taking aim at the park’s management over a wider range of issues.
Bay Bridge Estates tenants — and their attorney — say there is real concern about safety, including road conditions and falling trees, according to a Facebook post by resident Marieke Giasson, who took on a leadership role during the water crisis.
“It quickly became apparent that we need legal help for much more than the water problem,” she wrote.
Residents are being represented by Clifford and Clifford, a Portland and Kennebunk legal firm, which is looking at a class action lawsuit given the number of people involved.
Attorney James Clifford confirmed Monday his firm is representing several, if not all, residents at Bay Bridge Estates, having met with residents several times. Clifford said he planned to meet with either the park’s owners or the management company today.
“We’re just in the initial early stages of commencing any kind of legal action,” Clifford said. “Nothing has been filed. We anticipate something will be filed in the very near future and I think much of that depends on how this meeting goes.”
Given the gist of complaints he’s heard from residents, Clifford said, water isn’t at the heart of the case.
“It’s more of a general failure to maintain the park and, specifically, some major issues with trees,” he said. “There were some homes damaged, destroyed by downed trees and it’s a real hazard and a nuisance to the residents, so that has become the major issue.
“It’s a large place that charges money for very little in return,” he added.
Bay Bridge resident Marcia Good said the mobile home park “looks like a war zone” with huge piles of leaves — many leftover from last fall — and brush. Residents, she said, are not allowed to bag their leaves.
“Right now, people are so fed up,” Good said. “There are 409 occupied lots, last time I looked, and they’re still moving people in.”
She’s also concerned about the condition of the trees in the park, noting that one came crashing down on a mobile home this winter while a resident was asleep inside. The resident was unhurt, Good said, and taken to a hotel.
“We’re not so delusional to think they’re going to take every tree down,” she said, “but one of the things residents have asked for is to have a certified arborist come through,” to survey for diseased trees.
Good said she’s not pointing a finger at park staff who live on-site. She believes that rent money from tenants are paying for the legal obligations of Michael Liberty, who owns the park through various entities.
“It sucks to pay $400 a month and know the pothole in front of our house isn’t going to get fixed,” Good said.
Kevin McCarthy, spokesman for BBE LLC, did not return calls for comment by press time.
Water woes continue
It’s now the third week in May, and residents are still wondering when they’ll be able to stop worrying about water.
The company is also still on the hook for some of the water deliveries ordered by the town of Brunswick when the water shortage was reported in December. Officials set up the deliveries to be delivered until BBE LLC determined two existing wells on-site were providing enough water for the park residents.
The company has paid the town $26,757 but still owes $22,853 as of last week, according to the town finance department.
“We have adequate water supply right now,” Good added, “but since we don’t know the condition of it, most of the residents are reluctant to drink it.”
Good worries about what will happen during drought season in the summer; that’s when park management will restrict water use for washing cars or watering plants.
A third well was to have been added to the park’s water system over the winter but is still not yet online. Arsenic had been found in the well, which was supposed to have been treated. Representatives from BBE LLC last contacted Brunswick’s health officer, Jeff Emerson, via email April 13, explaining that additional work on the treatment system was required by the state.
That email indicated the well would be operational at the end of April.
“We still don’t have the well that was supposed to be set up in January,” Good said. “That’s just ridiculous.”