Meeting was called to order by Ms. Havey at 7:04 PM.
Board Members Present: Melody Havey, Warren Craft, Jay Fowler, Chris Tadema?Wielandt,
and John Wuorinen.
Public Present: Jane M. Fowler, Terry N. Towne, Merrill Davis, Mildred Davis, Jason A. Worster, Gerry Ford, Stu Marckoon, John Holdsworth.
The minutes of the April 2 meeting of the Board were approved four to zero, with Mr. Craft abstaining.
Mr. Fowler recused himself from consideration of the Administrative Appeal of Jane Fowler and Terry Towne, members of the Lamoine Board of Assessors.
Ms. Havey indicated that the first question to be addressed was whether the appellants had standing to bring this Appeal before the Board of Appeals. Mr. Wuorinen asked that the Board have an opportunity to review a document submitted by Mr. Towne that had been distributed prior to the meeting. Mr. Holdsworth stated that he had not seen the document, and had not been given the chance to bring new evidence. Mr. Holdsworth was then given a copy of the document. The Board then took time to read the document.
Ms. Havey again raised the issue of whether a town board, or two individual members of community who are not abutters, has standing to bring this appeal. After discussion, the Appeals Board agreed that the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance (SZO) applies to this matter, and has a definition of who is an "aggrieved party”. Section 16I of the SZO was then read, including the pertinent definition in Section 17.
Mr Towne pointed out that the Building and Land Use Ordinance identifies the
functions of Building Inspector, Plumbing Inspector, and Planning Board, but
does not define Code Enforcement Officer (CEO), and that the Shoreland Zoning
Ordinance states that the CEO is the only one empowered for enforcement. Mr.
Towne then went on to state that there had been an
error in administration of the ordinance, and that the definition of "aggrieved party" is ambiguous in the SZO, in that "particularized injury" is vague.
Mr. Holdsworth cited Section J2b in the SZO and stated that he did not issue a decision, but the previous CEO had. He investigated the complaint and issued a report.
Ms. Havey brought the discussion back to the question of standing.
Mr. Towne pointed out that the Assessors are elected and take an oath to administer the code. He further pointed out that all property owners are injured by failure to administer the code.
Mr. Craft questioned whether "particularized" implied one person, or could apply to a group. Mr. Tadema-Wielandt stated that it usually applies to one or just a few individuals.
There followed discussion of lost tax revenue from failure of previous assessors to assess the structure that was alleged to have been replaced by the new.
Ms. Fowler then asked if Jason Worster could address the meeting. Mr. Worster stated that Union River Builders, for whom he used to work, tore down and replaced a structure with new construction. He stated that he knew this from his own experience, because he had worked on the new building. He also stated that anyone who inspected the building, even today, would know that it had been newly built.
Ms. Fowler indicated that no tax revenue on the new structure had been lost, but that the replaced structure had not been taxed.
There was discussion of the time frame in the case, and questions of why there had been long delays in the Board of Assessors making the complaint.
Mr. Towne stated that tax money lost before the construction was not the only particularized injury, but that the Assessors, who are elected officials, also suffered injury. Mr. Holdsworth said that the Assessors are not obligated to enforce the town ordinances, but should inform the CEO if they see a violation.
Some discussion followed about why the parties could not go to Court about this issue. Ms. Havey stated that the appellants could go the Superior Court if the Board found that they did not have standing to be heard by the Board of Appeals. There was general agreement that if the Board chose to hear the case, it would be setting a precedent.
A review of previous arguments followed.
Mr. Craft suggested that based on Mr. Worster’s comments, the Appeals Board, CEO, Mr. Worster, and the Appellants should go back to the Selectmen for review of the case and possible action.
Mr. Tadema?Wielandt made and Mr. Craft seconded a motion that the Board find that the appellants did not have standing to be heard and that the appeal be dismissed. The vote was three in favor with Mr. Wuorinen abstaining.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.