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Lamoine Board of Appeals

Minutes of October 1, 2014

Chairman Griff Fenton called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM at the Lamoine Town Hall

Present were:  Appeals Board Members Griff Fenton, James Crotteau, Cece Ohmart, Jay Fowler, Jon VanAmringe, Connie Bender; Tony Benincasa, Kathy Curtis, Ed Bearor (attorney), John Holt, Phyllis & Larry Mobraaten, Kathleen DeFusco, Barry Balach and Paula MacIntyre

Minutes of July 14, 2014Jim moved to approve the minutes as presented.  Jay 2nd.  Vote in favor was unanimous.

Appeals Board Ordinance – Jim suggested this be postponed until the next meeting.  There was no objection.

Benincasa v. Code Enforcement Officer – Chairman Fenton said jurisdiction is the first item to consider.  He said Mr. Benincasa is a property owner asked if there was any question that the Board has jurisdiction.  There was no disagreement.

Standing – There was no disagreement that Mr. Benincasa had standing to appeal the decision of the Code Enforcement Officer.

Timeliness – The appeal was received on September 9, 2014.  The Planning Board met on August 13, 2014 which was within the 30-day period.  Timeliness was not an issue.

Conflicts of Interest – Jay said he did the work on the driveway in question so he would step out so that he is not in a mess.  Griff said he is an abutting property owner and he should recuse himself, and is taking the advice of an attorney to do so. Jon asked which party he abuts.  Griff answered Mr. Balach.  He asked that Jim take over as chair.

Quorum – Jim said there are 4-left.  The board said that 3- consist of a quorum.  Attorney Bearor asked whether he would need a unanimous vote if there were only 3-present.  After a brief discussion, Jim said he believed it would be a majority of those present.  He said the hearing board would be himself, Cece, Connie and Jon.

Type of Hearing – Mr. Bearor said it would depend on the ordinance whether the hearing would be administrative or de novo.  Jim said there is likely to be a very limited dispute about the facts in this case.

Rules of Procedure – Mr. Bearor said depending on when the hearing is held, he would like a week’s notice.  Jim asked if the Planning Board is preparing anything.  Mr. Bearor said they are appealing the issuance of a waiver of a 2nd driveway by the Planning Board.  John Holt said he needed very little time to respond.

Jim said the submission deadline for the Plaintiff would be a week after attorney Bearor returns from vacation (by October 24, 2014), and the Planning Board and abutters have until October 31, 2014 to respond. Abutting landowners will be notified by certified mail.

Hearing Date – The Appeals Board set November 5, 2014 at 6:30 PM as the hearing date. Jon said he would arrange for notifications to be made. The Code Enforcement Officer will also need to be notified.

Jay asked whether those who are recused are supposed to be in on the discussion.  The board answered no.  Jay asked if they had to attend the meetings.  Jim said only if there is other business to take care of.

Griff resumed the chairmanship of the meeting

Request of Planning Board for clarification to Site Plan Review Ordinance Section M.

Griff said he received a letter from Planning Board Chairman Holt regarding the request for an attorney’s opinion on Site Plan Review Ordinance.  Mr. Bearor said he had seen it, and reviewed a copy. 

Griff said Mr. Bearor noted there might be a chance that a de novo hearing would be held on the MacQuinn appeal.  Mr. Bearor confirmed that.   Rev. Holt wanted section M clarified so that it is understood what kind of hearing would be held and suggested the town attorney be consulted.

Jay said he asked about this before the ordinance passed.  He said since the ordinance took effect, they limited the choice of the type of hearing.  There was discussion about whether this was the Site Plan Review or the Gravel Ordinance. Rev. Holt said the Planning Board is questioning the Site Plan Review Ordinance in regard to Mr. Bearor’s contention that it could be a de novo hearing.   He said the Planning Board seeks the town attorney’s opinion on the type of hearing.  Griff and Jim said it makes sense to use the town attorney.  Jon asked if it just involves the town attorney.  Griff said Appeals Board would want to know the town attorney’s opinion and that the Appeals Board would ask the Selectmen.

Jim moved to ask the Selectmen to utilize the town attorney in regard to Site Plan Review Ordinance section M as to what kind of hearing is appropriate.  Connie 2nd.  Jay said the Appeals Board should have a choice as to what type of hearing is held.  Griff said there might be some idea about this for a future ordinance that would be discussed on November 5.  Vote in favor was 4-1 (Fowler opposed).  Jon said he would write the request to the Selectmen.

Next meeting date is November 5, 2014 at 6:30 PM (Code Enforcement Officer Michael Jordan arrived at the meeting)

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:59 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Jon VanAmringe, Secretary