Alna appeals board loses member, faces Spinney request

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 7:00am

    After losing a member who said he made no secret he was not a Maine resident, Alna’s appeals board is set to regroup Tuesday night and take up shoreland owner Jeff Spinney’s request it reconsider its latest calls. Spinney’s lawyer Kristin Collins argues the board should have considered what the building code calls a structure, and not considered statements that pre-date Spinney’s winning proposal to the planning board.

    Appellants of that planning board decision say the appeals board’s decision should stand.

    Collins wrote the appeals board March 15; the appellants countered March 23. Their letter argues the appeals board does not have to reconsider its decision and, under shoreland rules, cannot.

    The letter from Allen Philbrick, Carol Ervin, William Weary, Cathy Johnson and Edward Pentaleri also disputes Collins’ claim the appeals board should have let her speak the night of its votes when she had objections to raise. “While that may have made for a smoother meeting from the board’s perspective, it was in fact a violation of Mr. Spinney’s rights that can only be remedied through a full re-do of the decision-making process,” Collins wrote.

    The appellants state the appeals board “fully heard” Spinney and Collins on other nights. “Mr. Spinney has had every bit of due process owed him.”

    The March 30 meeting also follows the resignation of member David Buczkowski. According to an email thread, Maine Municipal Association advised Second Selectman Doug Baston March 19, municipal officers must be Maine residents. Baston then wrote Buczkowski, who responded: “As you no doubt remember, when you asked me to accept appointment to the Board of Appeals I immediately informed you that I was not a resident of Alna nor Maine for that matter. At that time it was my future intent to become a resident but that the decision would be made once I retired. I have not yet retired ... (To) spare you and the selectmen any further discomfort, I hereby tender my resignation ...”

    Baston took blame for the issue. It “accidentally surfaced” when he spoke to a lawyer about selectmen’s settlement deal with Spinney, Baston wrote Buczkowski.

    The appeals board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday over Zoom, Webinar ID: 824 3825 6291, Passcode: 201914. According to the agenda released March 24, the board is set to acknowledge Buczkowski’s resignation, elect a chair and secretary and take up Collins’ letter.