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August 23, 2000 Letter from Maxine Paul Pouravelis to the Limington Appeals Board
regarding Michael Hanson's Application on Road Slope


FAX 207-874-0531

August 23, 2000


Mr. Kenneth Gardner, Chairman
Limington Board of Appeals
P.O. Box 240
Limington, ME 04049

Re: Administrative Appeal of Planning Board Approval, 7/27/00, Application of Michael G. Hanson

Dear Mr. Gardner:

        On behalf of Sherwood and Lorraine Libby, I hereby appeal the decision of the Planning Board of July 27, 2000 granting the application of Michael G. Hanson to construct a dwelling on Sawyer Mountain.  The permit issues by the Board failed to meet the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, was based in part on a void variance purportedly granted by the Board of Appeals on December 15, 1999 with respect to access via Governor Black Road near Sawyer Mountain, and was not the independent determination of the Board.

        As you know, Sawyer Mountain is a rare and irreplaceable natural resource of the region and state.  Several years ago, Limington voters acted to protect it from development by placing it in a Resource Conservation District.  Sections 9.7 (G), (d), (l) and (n) of the Zoning Ordinance require that all traffic access to a Resource Conservation site meet the standards in the ordinance; that compliance with all performance standards be a precondition to any conditional use approval; and that new development have no adverse impact on rare and irreplaceable natural areas.  Section 7.10(c) of the Ordinance prohibits road slopes in excess of 8% except for short (200') segments at 10%.  Access to Mr. Hanson's dwelling would be via a road having a grade of 15% for a distance of 350' in some segments, and the variance granted by the Board of Appeals in December approved such use.

Kenneth Gardner, Limington Board of Appeals
August 23, 2000

Page 2.

        All roads are a threat to the protection of natural resources in an undeveloped area.  A steeply sloped road is an extreme and unacceptable threat to the integrity of an undeveloped mountain like Sawyer isasmuch as it causes excessive erosion and sedimentation, and the permitting of one steep road serves as precedent to the permitting of all.  The conditional permit issued by the Board would have devastating impact on the mountain.

        Sherwood and Lorraine Libby are aggrieved persons who would be directly and indirectly affected by the contemplated use.  They are Limington residents who frequently and regularly enjoy the natural beauty of Sawyers Mountain by hikes, hunting and fishing trips, and lengthy retreats at their primitive camp less than a mile from Mr. Hanson's property.  They retained an attorney to write in opposition to the granting of the permit prior to the July 27 meeting, and Lorraine Libby stated their opposition in person at the meeting.

        As Michael D. Cooper, Esq., their attorney, stated in his letter of July 13 to the Planning Board (copy of which is attached and hereby incorporated in this appeal letter), the variance granted by the Board of Appeals on December 15, 1999 was illegal and void both because it was not recorded within the time required by the Limington Zoning Ordinance (30 days) and State statue (90 days) and because the Board impermissibly authorized a change of use (instead of variance from dimensional requirements).

        The Planning Board, in apparent recognition of the latter deficiency, issued a conditional permit on June 22 allowing Mr. Hanson to built a road but requiring him to comply with the slope requirement of the Ordinance.  At its meeting on July 27, the Board reconsidered it earlier decision.  Despite having been put on notice that the variance had never been recorded and was likely void, the Board voted to issue a new permit without the slope limitation.  In answer to a question regarding the Board's grounds for its new decision, the Board chair stated the Town's selectmen had told the Board it had no choice but to issue the permit without prior limitation.

        For all the foregoing reasons and others that may be inferred from the facts and applicable Zoning Ordinance provisions and state law, Lorraine and Sherwood Libby request that the July 27 decision of the Board be repealed.

Sincerely yours,
Maxine Paul Pouravelis
Maxine Paul Pouravelis

cc: Lorraine and Sherwood Libby

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