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Board of Appeals

Minutes of January 13, 2015 (Draft, subject to correction)

Chair Griff Fenton called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.

Present were:  Appeals Board Members Connie Bender, Cece Ohmart, Hancock “Griff” Fenton, Jay Fowler, Jon VanAmringe; Code Enforcement Officer Michael Jordan, Carol Korty, David Legere, Kathie Gaianguest, John Jerabek, Valerie Sprague, Catherine DeTuede

Minutes, December 9, 2014 Cece moved to approve the minutes as written.  Jay 2nd.  Vote in favor was 5-0.

Friends of Lamoine v. Code Enforcement Officer Griff said Jim Crotteau and attorney Ed Bearor were unable to attend, so he would be in favor of tabling until they could be in attendance. He moved to table until the next meeting.

Griff said there are a couple of issues sent by the Friends of Lamoine and a response from the Code Enforcement Officer regarding jurisdiction and standing.  He said that could be taken up at a later date.  Jay 2nd.  Vote in favor was unanimous.

Griff asked if there were questions.  John Jerabek said they (the Friends of Lamoine) were not being copied on filings.  He said they discovered Mr. Jordan’s response on the town’s website.  Griff said he would ask that any correspondence would include all the parties involved. He said there is nothing untoward going on and the Appeals Board attempts to be completely open. He said he would ask that Mr. Marckoon and Mr. Jordan copy all involved. He asked if the Friends were up to date.  Mr. Jerabek said as far as we know.

Carol Korty asked if there were some dates that were best.  Griff said the Board needs that information, as they try to have everyone here. Jay said the holidays complicated the time previously. A lenghty discussion of dates followed, and it was agreed that February 2, 2015 would be the likely date.

Jon asked if it was the preference to communicate with all 7 listed as the “Friends of Lamoine”.  Mr. Jerabek said it should be Kathleen Rybarz.

Kathie Gaianguest asked for a sense of what the procedures might be.  Griff said the Board goes through a litany of items on an appeal and said items A-H on tonight’s agenda would be discussed at the next meeting to determine whether the Appeals Board can hear the case.  He said they might need some legal advice.  He said there have been issues about jurisdiction and standing in the past, and usually it’s not that big an issue.  Ms. Gaiainguest asked if that is determined, if there is a hearing, would it be at another time what would be the procedure.   Griff said they might try to have a hearing the same day as the agenda.  He explained that appellants would go first, the town, in this case would go second, and a summary would be given and the Appeals Board would discuss the case and come up with the findings, and after a decision there is another meeting to write up the findings.  He said it’s a bit lengthy, but they try to solve things in a short period of time.

Ms. Korty asked if it’s decided in advance whether there would be a hearing on the same day as the agenda.  Griff said they don’t know the issues in items A-H, and often times they would go through those items and set a hearing date.  He said after determining A-H, they set a date afterwards. Ms. Korty asked if the Appeals Board is represented by Jim Crotteau, or would the town have to get the attorney to come.  Griff said generally the board does not require legal help; Mr. Crotteau is a board member who happens to be an attorney.  He said if the Board needs legal help, they have to ask the Selectmen to approve that. A brief discussion followed regarding legal options.

Jon reminded the Board there are statutory requirements for a public hearing, and it’s unlikely there would be a public hearing on the same date as the next meeting.  He said abutting landowners would need notice. Ms. Gaianguest said they have submitted memoranda now available for other persons responding.  She asked if other people need to submit materials before a hearing so they can prepare a response.  Griff said any items that people want to comment on, the more materials the better.  She asked if anything from Mr. Bearor there should be a chance to review.  Griff said Gott, who Mr. Bearor represents, is not the defendant, the town is.  He said Mr. Bearor’s information is not absolute, but this is between the Appeals Board, the Code Enforcement Officer and the Friends of Lamoine.  He said Mr. Bearor’s client is an interested party. A brief discussion followed on who the parties are to the appeal.

Jon said in the past there has been a request to submit papers by a deadline at least a week prior to the meeting so that it can be disseminated and everyone can read it. 

Appeals Board Ordinance – 1st Draft – Griff said there were a couple of things he wanted to address.  He said he purposes did not address de novo and administrative hearings, as that will be a topic of discussion.

The Board reviewed the draft, noting a few typographical matters.  Among the discussion items were conflict of interest, the purpose of having such an ordinance, a severability section & conflicts with other ordinances, the Secretary position, time frames, relationships with other boards, becoming a Board of Assessment Review, hearing types, parties with standing, and making reference to the Maine Municipal Association Appeals Board manual.

Griff said the plan would be to delete appeals references in other ordinances.  Jay asked about the MMA Appeals Board workshop and encouraged others to attend. Mike Jordan said there is a session on June 18th in Bangor.

Griff said he would clean up the typos and bring it back to the next meeting.  He said he got the draft done later than planned.

Next Meeting Dates – The Board agreed to meet on January 26, 2015 to discuss the draft Appeals Board Ordinance and February 2, 2015 to discuss the appeal filed by Friends of Lamoine.  The Board will discuss the February 2nd date on January 26 in case there are conflicts.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at approximately 7:40 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon VanAmringe, Secretary