The Damariscotta Board of Appeals will hold meetings in the upcoming weeks to discuss three appeals of two recent decisions of the Damariscotta Planning Board.
During two separate meetings in June, the Damariscotta Planning Board approved permits for Pemaquid Oyster Co. Inc to build a permanent pier and a permit for Maine-ly Pawn owner Mark Hoffman to store and display merchandise outside.
Damariscotta-based attorney Jonathan Hull filed two appeals on behalf of Pennington and Helen Way regarding the planning board’s decision to approve the permits for the Pemaquid Oyster Co. pier.
The planning board granted a permit to Pemaquid Oyster Co. to build a pier, ramp, and dock on the Damariscotta River in the area of Briggs Road during a meeting Monday, June 6.
During the board’s April 4 meeting, Carter Newell, the president of Pemaquid Oyster Co., said the business originally received approval from the planning board in 1996 to use the location for the storage of equipment. Newell said having a permanent pier would increase employees’ safety while moving equipment to and from boats.
According to the appeal application filed June 14, the Ways are seeking an appeal on the basis that the planning board’s approval of the permit was due to “a misinterpretation of the Damariscotta Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, Site Plan Review Ordinance, and Land Use Ordinance.”
The application lists a number of reasons for the appeal, including the planning board’s decision that the pier would not extend above the mean high-water mark, the lack of review of performance standards in town ordinances, and the fact that the board did not include certain restrictions in the permit.
According to the application, the planning board also did not and could not decide when Pemaquid Oyster Co. began using the site for the storage of aquaculture equipment and whether the use was non-conforming.
During previous planning board meetings, Hull said the planning board never considered the application of the town’s land use ordinance, which he said it is required to do for building permits, and that the land use ordinance does not permit a commercial use in a residential zone.
The second appeals application filed by Hull on July 8 cites the same grounds as the planning board appeal, however, regards the decision of Damariscotta Code Enforcement Officer Stan Waltz to approve a permit for a temporary pier under the shoreland zoning ordinance.
The board of appeals met Tuesday, July 12 to discuss the first appeal. Hull presented the reasons for the appeal during the meeting. The board will meet again Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 5 p.m.
Hoffman filed an appeal regarding the planning board’s conditions on his permit to display and store merchandise outside his business.
The planning board approved Hoffman’s revised site plan with conditions and granted a conditional use permit following a site walk at the 535 Main St. business June 13. The decision followed months of discussion between Hoffman and the town.
The board’s approval included three conditions. Hoffman was required to plant 11 arborvitae trees, a type of evergreen tree, a minimum of 5 feet tall and 6 feet apart inside an existing split-rail fence. Once the trees were planted, a plywood fence at the site was to be removed.
The planting was to take place within 30 days of the board’s decision.
The total expense of the trees and the possibility the trees might create a solid barrier were both discussed during the site walk. Damariscotta Planning Board Chairman Jonathan Eaton said Hoffman could return to the board and ask if he can trim the trees.
According to the application, Hoffman is seeking an appeal due to the board’s requirement of 11 arborvitae trees. Hoffman wrote the requirement is “ridiculous, overkill, discriminatory, and unreasonable.”
The date for the Maine-ly Pawn meeting has not yet been set.