Edgecomb town attorney Bill Dale discusses options for handling an Edgecomb property owner
allegedly in violation of a 2013 court order.
By Abigail W. Adams
The Edgecomb Board of Selectmen discussed legal options for dealing with an Edgecomb property owner allegedly in
violation of a 2013 consent order at their Dec. 29 meeting.
Timothy Stephenson, of Southport, was fined $25,000 in a September 2013 court order for junk and debris on
his Gleason Road property.
The consent decree, a legal settlement, allowed for the forgiveness of large portions of that fine if the
property was cleared of debris and Stephenson approached the Edgecomb Planning Board and the selectmen for permits
delineating use of the property.
According to Bill Dale, Edgecomb’s attorney, Stephenson has not cleared the upper portion of his lot or
filed for the appropriate permits with the planning board and selectmen. A junkyard permit was among the permits
Stephenson had considered obtaining.
In March 2014, Stephenson’s attorney, Eliot Field, filed a site plan review application with Edgecomb’s
planning board for wood-processing/splitting operations, gravel/mineral extraction, and storage buildings on the
property. The application was determined to be incomplete and Field was instructed to consult with an engineer or
surveyor to complete the application.
No other application was submitted to the selectmen or the planning board, according to Dale.
“(Stephenson) is no longer violating town ordinances,” Dale said. “Now he’s in violation of a court
According to Eliot Field, Stephenson complied with the consent decree and followed its orders in a timely
fashion. Field does not believe Stephenson is in violation of the court order.
If Stephenson is found to be in violation of the consent decree, he could face criminal charges if Edgecomb
selectmen decide to file a contempt charge against Stephenson. He will also owe Edgecomb $20,000, the balance of
the original fine, which would have been forgiven if the consent decree was followed.
Dale outlined three options for Edgecomb selectmen to handle the situation. “One, we could rattle our saber
about the $20,000,” Dale said. “Two, we could rattle our saber about the contempt charge. Three, we could clean the
property ourselves and tax the cost of the removal.”
In response to the third option presented by Dale, board Chair Jack Sarmanian said Stephenson had not paid
property taxes since 2012, and the lot was facing foreclosure.
The information initiated debate about whether Edgecomb would want to own the property. Selectman Stuart
Smith questioned if the cost to clean the property would outweigh its value. Dale said Edgecomb could follow a
process that would enable the town to avoid foreclosing on the property.
Dale told selectmen he would contact Stephenson’s attorney and request a response in a specified time
frame. The selectmen agreed to wait for Field’s response before deciding which course of action to take.
On Jan. 5, Field said he spoke with Dale only a short time ago and had not had a chance to discuss the
situation with Stephenson. “Hopefully we’ll get things moving ahead towards a final resolution as soon as
feasible,” Field said.