July 13, 2000 Letter from Michael Cooper to the Limington Planning Board
regarding Michael Hanson's Application on Road Slope
838 Maine Street
P.O. Box 529
Westbrook, Maine 04098
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July 13, 2000
Limington Planning Board
Town of Limington
P.O. Box 240
Limington, Maine 04049
Re: Conditional Use Appeal of Michael G. Hanson
On behalf of Sherwood and Lorraine Libby, I have reviewed the Town of Limington Zoning Ordinance, The Variance and Conditional Use applications and the decisions reached by the Limington Board of Appeals on December 15, 1999, and the Planning's Board conditional approval granted on June 22, 2000.
Again on behalf of the Libby's I offer the following for the Planning Board's consideration:
- The Variance apparently granted by the Board of Appeals is illegal and void.
State law and the Limington Zoning Ordinance both require that within a certain time (30 days for the Ordinance, §10.4 (H), 90 days under State Law, 30-A MRSA § 4353 (5) all variance approvals must be recorded in the Registry of Deeds or they are void. A recent check of the York County Registry of Deeds shows that no variance was recorded for Mr. Hanson. Consequently the December approval by the Board of Appeals is legally void.
Even if the variance had been recorded, the Planning Board in June was absolutely correct to determine that the Board of Appeals had exceeded its authority by granting a variance to the town's maximum road slope requirements. Both the town's Ordinance (§ 2.1, Definitions and § 6.3) and State Law (30-A MRSA §4353 (4-C) limit the jurisdiction of the Limington Board of Appeals to variances involving only lot area, road frontage, setbacks, building height and lot coverage. The Board of Appeals had no legal authority to grant permission for Mr. Hanson to exceed road slope maximums and therefore the December 15, 1999 decision is void.
- The Planning Board should deny the conditional use unless Mr. Hanson's proposed road construction and dwelling meet all of the Zoning Ordinance requirements.
Specifically, § 9.7, (G), (d), (l) and (n) are not met in the current proposal:
- § (d) requires that all traffic access to the site meet the standards in the ordinance (8% overall maximum, with no greater than 10% for short segments under 200', § 7.10(e),) this proposal far exceeds those standards.
- § (l) requires compliance with all performance standards as a precondition to any conditional use approval. Road slopes in excess of 8% except for short (200') segments at 10% are not permitted under § 7.10(c)
- § (n) prohibits adverse impacts on rare and irreplaceable natural areas. Steep road slopes are prohibited to prevent excessive erosion and sedimentation in the towns natural undeveloped areas. Road slopes of 15% or more as proposed by Mr. Hanson will cause significant damage in a area of the town recognized under the zoning ordinance as a rare and irreplaceable natural area
As I understand it, the Planning Board my be reconsidering its prior conditional approval based on some opinion of the town's attorney which was solicited by one or more of the town's selectmen. Mr. and Mrs. Libby were denied access to that letter, so it is not possible for me to address its contents, except to say that to the extent it may opine that the December 15, 1999 variance has any validity at all, it is flat wrong. Since the town's interested and affected citizens have been denied access to this letter, it can not be considered by the Planning Board as evidence in any event, nor could the Board entertain this or any other new evidence without holding a new public hearing under § 9.7 (D).
Finally, under State zoning law and the town's zoning Ordinance the selectmen have no role in the granting of variances or conditional use appeals. The function of the Board of Appeals and the Planning Board is to apply the town's ordinances fairly and equally to all of the Limington's citizens.
For the above reasons the Planning Board is respectively requested to deny Mr. Hanson's request for reconsideration and require that he comply with the standards set forth in the zoning Ordinance.
Michael D. Cooper
Michael D. Cooper, Esq.
View Jim Haddow's Letter on the same subject.
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