Media Archive

Code officer finds violations at Sebec Village Shops

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 6, February 05, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

SEBEC The town's code enforcement officer Monday night declared the Sebec Village Shops in violation of the shoreland zoning laws.

Bill Murphy based his assessment on photographic evidence supplied to him at the meeting, as well as prior, and said he intends to follow up on additional investigations into the property, owned by E. Forbes Smiley III of Sebec and Martha's Vineyard.

Murphy supplied a report on the property, based on an investigation spurred by complaints issued by members of the town's planning board. Walter Emmons and Mary Downs made a formal complaint about the property, raising concerns about the lot coverage and additional construction at the site that was not included in the permit application.

Murphy said he will investigate the second complaint with a site visit where he will measure the structure and any new additions, and make comparisons to the permit approved by the planning board.

After a closed-door session with Murphy and the town's attorney, David Gray of Dover-Foxcroft, the selectmen unanimously voted to authorize our CEO to pursue code violations with Sebec Village Shops.

"We're doing this because we're obliged to follow the rules," stressed board Chairman Buzz Small. "We're not doing this out of revenge"

The town is currently in a lawsuit brought on by Smiley, related to the board's consent agreement on another permitting issue which allows Charlene and William Moriarty to operate their marina in the village.

The board stopped short of issuing a stop work order on any new construction on the property. Instead, selectmen authorized the codes officer to write a notification of noncompliance letter to Smiley and his attorney, Gregory Cunningham, giving the property owner 10 days to respond with a plan for compliance.

Murphy said he will send the notification to Smiley, once he has inspected the property to make a determination on the second alleged violation.

Photos supplied at the meeting by former owner of the property, Pat McGuire of Bowerbank, show that areas of the Sebec Village Shops parcel have been unvegetated since development began more a year ago.

The photos show green grass, where there are now parking spaces and a driveway.

The code enforcement officer said the photos clearly show that the property had been unvegetated beyond the 20 percent or the grandfathered amount, whichever was in effect upon the property's purchase allowed by the state's shoreland zoning laws.

Murphy said that Smiley has the right to appeal any finding of non-compliance to the town's board of appeals or the Maine Superior Court.

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