In a split vote March 30, Alna’s appeals board decided David Buczkowski – who voted in appeals involving Jeff Spinney’s shoreland project – was not “a full member of the board.” Then, the board split again: David Abbott sat out that one because he did not vote on those appeals, which project opponents filed. So Spinney’s request the board reconsider its March 4 decision favoring the appellants came down to members Mary Bowers and Alex Pugh.
Bowers voted to reconsider; Pugh, against. “So (the motion) fails. That means we don’t reconsider,” Pugh said.
Afterward, Spinney’s lawyer Kristin Collins, in the Zoom meeting, and Spinney, in a phone interview, reacted to the night’s votes. Collins told the board its vote on Buczkowski’s membership invalidated his votes. “And that would result in a 1-1 vote on all of those votes that were split ... which means the appeal actually fails,” Collins said.
Appellant Allen Philbrick countered, Collins’ point might be valid – if deciding Buczkowski’s membership was within the board’s purview. It is not, Philbrick said. He said Maine Municipal Association (MMA) said only a court could retroactively decide if Buczkowski was a member.
Spinney told Wiscasset Newspaper, “The only things (the appellants) won against me fail, because of (the membership of) Dave Buczkowski being invalid. So they don’t revoke my planning board permit.” And his only restrictions are the ones in his voluntary settlement agreement with selectmen, he said.
Appellant Cathy Johnson’s take on the March 30 votes differed from Spinney’s. Responding to an email request for comment, Johnson wrote: “We are gratified by the board of appeals’ decision to deny reconsideration of its March 4 decision. Jeff Spinney constructed the permanent motor boat ramp at his own risk while both the Alna and (Department of Environmental Protection) appeals were pending. The board of appeals’ decision means that Jeff Spinney does not have a valid Alna shoreland zoning permit which both the town and the DEP require.”
Buczkowski resigned after MMA advised then-Second Selectman Doug Baston March 19, municipal officers must be Maine residents. Buczkowski said he was not.
In other action March 30, Pugh and Bowers made Abbott the new chair.