Edgecomb to MDOT: maintenance lot structures violate local ordinance

Posted:  Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 8:00am

Edgecomb is filling up Maine Department of Transportation’s mailbox with another letter. On Nov. 6, the selectmen sent a letter to MDOT seeking more information about a proposed U.S. Route 1 traffic improvement project. On Nov. 16, it was the planning board’s turn. Chairman Jack French is writing a letter informing  Commissioner David Bernhardt the two structures built on the department’s U.S. Route 1 maintenance lot violate local shoreland zoning ordinances.

According to French, MDOT built both structures within the past two years, but never sought a permit from the town. Residents have asked French and other planning board members over the past two years if the state submitted an application.

“I finally decided to ask the selectmen what we should do and they said write a letter, said French. “So should we?” The planning board voted 4-0 directing French to inform Bernhardt about the violations and that Code Enforcement Officer Stan Waltz will be enforcing the ordinance.

The state has options regarding the violations. French reported that for projects such as buildings, parking lots and other publicly owned structures, the governor or his designee could waive restrictions for state property. Under the statute, if no other reasonable alternative could be found within the municipality or nearby or if the project was necessary to protect public welfare or the environment, the local ordinance could be waived.

In other action, the planning board and ordinance review committee agreed to request a special town meeting for enacting a moratorium on retail marijuana and floating structures. The six-month ban voters approved in March on floating houses has lapsed. Selectmen could have extended it for another six months, but didn’t. French and Planning Board Vice Chairman Barry Hathorne planned to ask selectmen Nov. 20 to schedule a January special town meeting.

During the joint planning board and ordinance review committee meeting, the members reached a consensus about formulating a potential floating structure ordinance for the May town meeting. The group supports ordinance language which mirrors current ordinances that bar floating structures in the shoreland zone. The group considered language which wouldn’t completely ban floating structures in town. The members considered allowing one or two floating structures at a commercial marina.

The planning board also approved an application for Corning Townsend to add a 10-foot by 20-foot float to his Davis Island pier. In 2006, Townsend received approval to build a dock and a float. He requested an additional float because a south-flowing current creates problems for his boat. “My boat is 29 feet long and the dock is only 20. The bow gets caught and shoves it off.”

The board meets next at 6:30 p.m.Thursday, Dec. 7 in the municipal building’s conference room.