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Board of Appeals

Minutes - June 21, 2017


Recognizing that a quorum is present, Chair Fenton called the meeting to order at 18:30 PM. 

Present were Appeals Board members Hancock “Griff” Fenton, Connie Bender, Jay Fowler, Michael Jordan, and Jon VanAmringe; and Code Enforcement Officer Edward “Rick” Gallegos.  Attending were Appellants Amanda and Timothy Frost and Appellant Don S. Hatcher as well as Joe Ferris, Esq. [of counsel, Gross, Minsky and Mogul, P.A.], representing Frosts.  Other members of the public were present in support of Frost v. CEO – Darrell Miles, Don Clayton, Brittany Clayton, Debra Clayton, and Joan Bragdon

Minutes from Prior Meeting [30 May 2017].  Mr. Jordan moved to approve the Minutes as presented.  Mr. Fowler 2nd.  Vote in favor was 5-0.

 1.              Application for Variance:  Timothy & Amanda Frost v. CEO [Map 15 Lot 23] (denial of permit)

            Determination of Jurisdiction – Agreed

            Determination of standing of Applicant – Agreed

            Timeliness of Receipt of Appeal – Agreed

           Poll Board for Conflicts of Interest - None

        Determination of Quorum – makeup of hearing board – Chair Fenton; Members      Bender, Fowler, Jordan and VanAmringe

            Type of Hearing (de novo or administrative appeal) - Administrative

            Rules of Procedure – Board of Appeals standard practice – Testimony from Town/CEO and Appellants; Cross-examination; discussion

            Time and location of hearing(s) – Present meeting plus any extensions as needed       

The Appellants propose to expand their existing dwelling at 90 Lamoine Beach Road [Map 15 Lot 23] by approximately 1,994 sq ft.  This includes a handicapped accessible apartment for Mrs. Frost’s parents [832 sq ft], a garage [672 sq ft], and other expansion to the current dwelling [490 sq ft].  On 24 May 2017, CEO denied the construction permit – Set-back is too close to Mill Road.  Town of Lamoine Building and Land Use Ordinance [BLUO], Part I, Section 2 requires a minimum set-back of 75 feet as measured from the center of any road.  Proposed set-back of new construction ranges from 53 to 64 feet versus the 75 foot standard.

On 5 April 2017, the Appellants appealed the decision of the CEO to the Lamoine Board of Appeals.

CEO confirmed the denial of permit and agreed generally with set-back distances.

Mrs. Frost and Atty. Ferris spoke on behalf of the Appellants and highlighted their position contained in the Appeal: 

         Disability variance of Maine statutes applies to certain portions of this project

         Shape of the property is unique

         Abutting landowners and residents have no objection

         The land in question could not yield a reasonable return unless the variance is granted

         The need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the property and not the general conditions of the neighborhood.

         The granting of a variance would not alter the essential character of the locality.

         The hardship is not the result of action taken by the applicant or prior owner.

Atty. Ferris presented 6 exhibits to the Board.  All of these were already part of, or information included indirectly in, the original Appeal.

Further discussion ensued among the Board, CEO and Appellants:

         CEO confirmed that the intention of the BLUO is that the set-back should be 50 feet from the edge of the road.  The latest revision changed the measurement to 75 feet from the center of the road, assuming a 2 rod road.  Both measurements therefore yield the same set-back distance.

         Board generally agreed that this 75 foot measurement is problematic in this community, where many existing buildings are non-conforming.

With the consent of all concerned parties, this hearing was continued to the Board’s next meeting on Monday 3 July.  Prior to that meeting, the Board requested that the Appellants and their Attorney:

         Research and present a brief with respect to Maine Statutes that affect how disability influences the Boards ability to grant a variance.

         Appellants will mark and confirm dimensions of addition, with particular attention to dimensions facing Mill Road.  Measurements can either be provided by a qualified surveyor or in conjunction with CEO.

         Undertake preliminary discussions with Town of Lamoine Plumbing Inspector to ensure that there are not issues with capacity of existing or proposed septic system.

2.              Application for Variance:  Don S. and Chloe C. Hatcher [Map 3 Lot 18-A]

On 12 June 2017 the Hatchers submitted a request for Variance on property under contract for sale.  Subject 19 +/- acre property has approximately 181 feet of frontage on Shore Road.  In order to complete the purchase, prospective buyers need to be reassured that they will be able to construct a “driveway” leading to a building site in the middle or rear of the property.  Mr. Hatcher believes that a minimum of 200 feet of frontage on Shore Road is necessary.

Prior to fully considering this appeal the Board considered the issues and ascertained the following:

          Board may not have jurisdiction, because to date CEO has not been involved and neither a preliminary or actual permit has been denied.

         200 feet of frontage may not be required for a “driveway”

Board suggested, and Mr. Hatcher agreed, that he should discuss this matter further with CEO and ascertain what issues affect building on this property particularly a driveway with entrance/egress on Shore Road.  If issues cannot be resolved in that fashion, Board would further discuss this Request for Variance at their next meeting on 3 July.

3.             Appeals Board Ordinance Mr. Fenton offered, as example, the Reorganization of the Town of Mount Desert Zoning Board of Appeals amended 3 May 2016.  It is the Chair’s hope that at the next plenary meeting of the Board we can discuss this as well as the 02 December 2015 working draft of the Town of Lamoine Board of Appeals Ordinance.  Board also considered state statute and other guidance as to whether the Lamoine Appeals Board could consider both de novo and administrative appeals.   Further discussion was deferred to the next regular meeting with hopes of having full participation of all Board of Appeals members.

4.             Other matters to come before the Board of Appeals – None

5.             Next meeting date(s) – Monday, 3 July at 18:30 pm at the Town Office.

There being no further business, on the motion of Mr. Jordan, second by Ms. Bender, all members voting in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 20:00 PM.

Subsequent Event – On 27 June, Amanda Frost delivered a letter requesting that their variance request be withdrawn.  It was removed from the on-line agenda for 3 July.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon VanAmringe, Secretary