Media Archive

Sebec Selectmen may pursue consent agreement with Sebec Village Shops' owner

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 9, March 03, 2004

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

SEBEC Selectmen hope to work out a consent agreement between the town of Sebec and the owner of Sebec Village Shops to address unaddressed shoreland zoning violations on the property.

The board voted unanimously Monday to have the town's attorney determine if Forbes Smiley is willing to negotiate a consent agreement that may include payment of a fine. The property is out of compliance with the vegetation coverage requirements.

According to Selectman Susan Dow, the town's planning board issued a revised permit last November to the property owner, with the stipulation that the violations are corrected by Oct. 31. At the time, the planning board had requested updated site plans due to perceived discrepancies in those approved prior to construction.

As a condition of the new permit, Sebec Village Shops was required to revegetate 429 square feet on the property.

The town's code enforcement officer, Bill Murphy, determined the property remained out of compliance in November and recently drafted a letter to Smiley and his attorney, Gregory Cunningham of Bangor, stating that fact.

In a response to that letter, Cunningham wrote that Smiley intends to bring the property into compliance.

"I'm all for working with property owners to bring them into compliance as soon as possible," said Dow, adding that not much could be done to the property until the ground thaws this spring.

Selectman Buzz Small questioned why the work had not been accomplished by the October deadline. "Is there a breakdown of communication between Cunningham, Smiley and the managers of Sebec Village Shops ? I fail to understand why there was no effort to get that work done," he said.

Small also asked what the town's enforcement options are at this point. "What do we do ? Do we put them in jail for noncompliance ? Can we shut them down ?" he asked, adding that the code enforcement officer should be contacted for additional information on enforcement.

The board voted unanimously to have the town's attorney, David Gray of Dover-Foxcroft, contact Smiley and his attorney to find out if the property owner is willing to pursue a consent agreement. The goal is to bring the property into compliance by spring, the
board agreed.

Reacting to a complaint filed in October 2003, selectmen also unanimously agreed to have Gray write letters to three property owners on the Cove Road who had received permits to build garages with no septic systems. According to Dow, the structures appear residential they do not have garage doors, but have residential windows and doors. It is believed they are used as camps, with some type of septic system installed on at least one of the properties.

The board also updated resident Charlene Moriarty on three complaints she had filed with the town regarding possible shoreland zoning violations.

Moriarty filed complaints with the town regarding Sebec Village Shops' parking in the street in front of the business, along with parking without a permit on adjacent property owned by Sebec Village Associates. Both complaints are being reviewed, Dow said.

A third complaint, regarding the existence of a walkway and decking within 100 feet of the shore at a residential property, remains under investigation.

In unrelated business, the board of selectmen voted to implement a charge-per-copy for copies made to comply with the state's Freedom of Access statutes. The charge is now 20 cents per copy.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.