Home   www.Limington.org
Limington Zoning Ordinance
Article X
<--Prev       Table of Contents       Next-->
Index of Town Regulations

Please note:
The information on this page may be obsolete and is published here ONLY for historical reference.
Please visit the Town's website for official information.


10.1   Establishment and Organization.

A Board of Appeals is hereby established which shall consist of five (5) members and two(2) associate members. The term of office of a member or associate is five (5) years serving staggered terms. A municipal officer or his spouse may not be a member or associate member of the Board of Appeals. When a regular member of the Board is unable to act because of interest, physical incapacity or absence, an associate member chosen by the chairperson shall act in his stead. Members of the Board of Appeals shall be appointed by the municipal officers. When there is a permanent vacancy, the municipal officers shall appoint a new member to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. Members of the Board of Appeals may be removed from office by the municipal officers for cause upon written charges and after public hearing. "For cause" shall include failure of a board member or associate to attend three consecutive meetings without the recorded consent of the chairman. The Board of Appeals shall elect officers from its own membership.

10.2   Proceedings of the Board of Appeals

The Board of Appeals shall adopt rules necessary to the conduct of its affairs, in keeping with the provisions of this ordinance and Title 30-A M.R.S.A., Section 2411. Meetings shall be held at the call of the chairman and at such other times as the Board may determine. The chairperson, or in his absence, the vice chairperson, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. All meetings shall be open to the public. The Board of Appeals shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or of absence or failure to vote, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be a public record and be filed in the town offices.

10.3   Powers and Duties of the Board of Appeals

The Board of Appeals shall have the following powers:

A. Administrative review.

1. To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is a violation or error in any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board in the administration and enforcement of this ordinance, or any appeal designated an administrative appeal in this ordinance.

2. To determine whether the criteria of this ordinance for administrative appeals have been met.

B. Variances. To authorize variances upon appeal in specific cases, but only within the limitations set forth in this ordinance.

C. Interpretations of the Ordinance.

10.4   Variances

Variances may be permitted only under the following conditions:

A. Variances may be granted only from dimensional requirements including but not limited to, lot width, structure height, percent of lot coverage, and setback requirements.

B. Variances cannot, under any circumstances, be obtained for establishment of any uses otherwise prohibited by the Ordinance.

C. The Board shall not grant a variance unless it finds that:

1. That the land in question cannot yield a reasonable return unless a variance is granted;

2. That the need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the property and not to the general conditions in the neighborhood;

3. That the granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the locality; and

4. That the hardship is not the result of action taken by the applicant or a prior owner.

5. That the proposed structure or use is in a shoreland zone would meet all the performance standards contained in Section 6.4 except for the provision which has created the non-conformity and from which relief is sought.

D. Such hardship may be found by the Board of Appeals where this ordinance, as applied to the applicant's property, substantially destroys or decreases the value of the property in question for any permitted use to which the land or property can reasonably be put. Mere inconvenience to the property owner shall not satisfy this requirement. Financial hardship alone or pleading that a greater profit may be realized from the applicant's property were a variance granted shall not be sufficient evidence of unnecessary hardship. Personal hardship shall not be considered as grounds for a variance, since the variance will continue to affect the character of the neighborhood after title to the property has passed.

E. The variance granted is the minimum variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land or structure in order to preserve the terms of the ordinance as much as possible, and the Board may impose such conditions to a variance as it deems necessary, to this end. The party receiving the variance shall comply with any conditions imposed. If no action is taken by the applicant to use the variance within one year of issuance it shall become void, unless the applicant applies to the Board of Appeals and receives an extension.

F. A copy of each variance request for property in the Shoreland Zone, including the application and all supporting information supplied by the applicant, shall be forwarded by the municipal officials to the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection at least twenty (20) days prior to action by the Board of Appeals. Any comments received from the Commissioner prior to action by the Board of Appeals shall be made part of the record and shall be taken into consideration by the Board of Appeals.

G. A copy of all variances granted by the Board of Appeals for property located in the Shoreland Zone shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection within fourteen (14) days of the decision.

H. Whenever the Board grants a variance a certificate indicating the name of the current property owner, identifying the property by reference to the last recorded deed in its chain of title, and indicating the fact that a variance, including any conditions on the variance, has been granted and the date of the granting, shall be prepared. No rights may accrue to the variance recipient, heirs, or assigns unless and until the recording is made within thirty (30) days.

I. Disability Variance. The Board may grant a variance to a property owner for the purpose of making that property accessible to a person with a disability who is living on the property. The Board shall restrict any variance granted under this subsection solely to the installation of equipment or the construction of structures necessary for access to or egress from the property by the person with the disability. The Board may impose conditions on the variance, including limiting the variances to the duration of the disability or to the time that the person with the disability lives on the property. For the purposes of this subsection, a disability has the same meaning as a physical or mental handicap under Title 5 M.R.S.A., section 4553, and the term "structures necessary for access to or egress from the property" is defined to include railing, wall roof systems necessary for the safety or effectiveness of the structure.

10.5   Appeal Procedure.

A. Making an Appeal

1. An appeal may be taken to the Board of Appeals by an aggrieved person from any decision of the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board. Such appeal shall be taken within thirty (30) days of the decision appealed from.

2. Such appeal shall be made by filing with the Board of Appeals a written notice of appeal on forms provided which includes:

a A sketch drawn to scale showing lot lines, location of existing structures and other physical features pertinent to the relief request.

b. A concise written statement stating what relief is requested and why it should be granted.

3. When appeals are filled, they shall be examined for completeness and accuracy, and particularly to determine whether all information necessary to make determinations has been supplied. Where information is lacking or inadequate at the time of submission and the deficiency cannot be remedied immediately, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the incompleteness. If the additional information is not received prior to the date the public notice of the hearing must be issued, a hearing shall not be scheduled until such deficiency is remedied.

4. Upon being notified of an appeal, the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board shall transmit to the Board all the papers specifying the record of the decision appealed from. Each appeal shall be accompanied by a fee to cover advertising and administrative costs. The Board of Appeals shall hold a public hearing on the appeal within thirty five (35) days.

B. Procedure on Appeal

1. At least fifteen (15) days prior to the date of the hearing on such appeal, the Board shall cause to be published in one issue in a newspaper of general circulation in the town a notice which includes:

a. The name of the person appealing.

b. A brief description of the property involved.

c A brief description of the decision appealed from, or the nature of a variance appeal.

d. The time and place of the Board's hearing.

2. At least ten (10) days prior to the date set for hearing, the Board shall also cause the Town Clerk to give similar written notice to:

a. all property owners of record whose properties lie within 200 feet of the affected property,

b. the person making the appeal, and

c. the Planning Board, the Code Enforcement Officer, and any other parties of record.

C. Hearings

1. The Board may receive any oral or documentary evidence but shall provide as a matter of policy for the exclusion of irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence. Every party shall have the right to present his case or defense by oral or documentary evidence, to submit rebuttal evidence and to conduct such cross-examinations as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.

2. The appellant's case shall be heard first. To maintain orderly procedure, each side shall proceed without interruption. All persons at the hearing shall abide by the order of the Chairperson.

3. At any hearing, a party may be represented by agent or attorney. Hearings shall not be continued to other times except for good cause. For example, if the Board of Appeals determines that the appeal before it was inappropriately classified the Board shall give the applicant the opportunity to amend the application and continue the hearing until the public has been properly notified of the appeal's reclassification and of the time and place when the hearing will continue.

4. The Code Enforcement Officer or his designated assistant shall attend all hearings and may present to the Board of Appeals all plans, photographs, or other material he deems appropriate for an understanding of the appeal.

5. The transcript of testimony, if any, and exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceedings, shall constitute the record.

6. The record may be kept open after the hearing by order of the Chairman until a date established by the order.

10.6   Decisions of the Board of Appeals

A. The concurring vote of a majority of five members of the Board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision, or determination of the Code Enforcement Officer, or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter on which it is required to pass under this ordinance, or to affect any variation in the application of this ordinance. A tie vote shall fail.

B. The Board shall decide all appeals within thirty five (35) days after the hearing, and shall issue a written decision on all appeals.

C. All decisions shall become a part of the record and shall include a statement of findings and conclusions as well as the reasons or basis therefor, upon all the material issues of fact, law or discretion presented, and the appropriate order, relief or denial thereof. Notice of any decision shall be mailed or hand delivered to the petitioner, his representative or agent, the Planning Board, agency or office, the Code Enforcement Officer, and the Municipal Officers within seven (7) days of the decision date.

D. Upon notification of the granting of an appeal by the Board of Appeals, the Code Enforcement Officer shall immediately issue a Permit in accordance with the conditions of the approval, unless the applicant needs a Conditional Use Permit.

E. Any aggrieved party who participated as a party during the proceedings before the Board of Appeals may take an appeal to Superior Court in accordance with State laws within thirty (30) days from the date of any decision of the Board of Appeals.

10.7   Stay of Proceedings.

An appeal stays all legal proceedings related to the action appealed from unless the officer or board from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the Board of Appeals, after the notice of appeal has been filed with the officer or board, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would, in the officer or board's opinion, cause irreparable harm to property or create a threat to the life or health of any person including the appellant. In such case, the officer or board, if legally authorized by State law or local ordinance, may seek injunctive relief or, in appropriate cases, refer the matter to the municipal officers for prosecution.

10.8   Reconsideration

The Board of Appeals may reconsider any decision within thirty (30) days of its prior decision. The Board may conduct additional hearings and receive additional evidence and testimony.

10.9   Fees

The application fee shall be established in accordance with Section 9.9.. If the actual cost of advertising and notification exceeds the fee paid, the applicant shall pay the balance.

Return to top of page

View Next Section

Please note that www.Limington.org is not the official website of the Government of the Town of Limington.
For legal reference, please obtain a copy of the ordinance from the town office.