Lincolnville selectmen hear grievances from landowner
Lincolnville — Levenseller Pond waterfront landowner Richard Rosenberg came before Lincolnville selectmen on Tuesday, Nov. 13, to air his concerns about a pair of alleged violations of the town's land use ordinance that resulted in his receipt of a stop work order issued by Lincolnville Code Enforcement Officer Frank Therio on Aug. 27.
Rosenberg received the stop work order after he allegedly constructed a pier and something else, which he said is a barge, on the shore. Rosenberg went forward with both projects without being issued a permit from the town for either. Rosenberg appeared before the Board of Appeals at a meeting on Oct. 11 and The Board of Appeals upheld Therio's August decision, according to Lincolnville Town Administrator David Kinney.
Rosenberg took the podium as part of the agenda, but the selectboard remained mostly quiet as he presented itemized documents and photos pertaining to his grievances. Kinney prevously advised the board to stay out of the issue in a newsletter sent to selectmen in advance of the meeting.
"The Board of Selectmen has no jurisdiction over this matter and the appeal period for Mr. Rosenberg to appeal the Board of Appeals decision to Superior Court is still open," Kinney stated in the newsletter, advising the board not to engage in a discussion of Rosenberg's situation. Rosenberg has had legal conflicts with the town in the past, according to previously published reports.
As Rosenberg rose from his seat, chairman David Barrows reiterated the sentiment Kinney had expressed in the newsletter.
"I don't want you to think we're going to save the world," Barrows said, advising that selectmen could not make any decisions on the matter at hand.
Rosenberg countered contending that he had been advised that the selectmen were the "ultimate deciders," before proceeding with his contentions.
"I'm here to explain to you what I think is information you should know," he said.
Rosenberg stated the list of violations presented by the code enforcement officer as grounds for the stop work permit were flawed.
"He was never on my premises," Rosenberg explained, alleging the CEO could not have discovered violations without coming onto his property.
According to Rosenberg, Therio has been on his land before without permission. He asserted that Therio "trespassed" on his property in 2011 — first alone and later with someone from the Department of Environmental Protection — and said the town official had no right to be on his land unless he was there to check on an existing permit. He argued that since no permit had been issued, Therio had no grounds to come on his property.
Rosenberg ran through a series of "exhibits" he said were documentation the violations in the August stop work order were unfounded. He showed selectmen photographs of various parts of his property that he said had been cited in the stop-work letter. He said he had applied for a permit for the pier he constructed. However, he said he was later told his application was incomplete and therefore no permit was issued — but he had already built the pier under the assumption that he could obtain a permit.
As he presented each of his contentions he said he was confused about what he did that was in violation of the land use ordinance since the project on shore was a boat and not a house.
"I'm not building a house," he said. "I'm building a house boat."
He said the boat — which he referred to as a barge — is now in the pond.
"I didn't know that we issued building permits to build a boat," he said. "Work I was going to do on land I'll now do in the water instead."
Rosenberg said he knows of "50" other people who live on the shores of various ponds in Lincolnville who are committing violations of the land use ordinance. He asserted the CEO is treating him unfairly.
"Every citizen should be treated the same, I am not treated the same, I never have been in 32 years," he stated.
In an interview following adjournment of the meeting, Kinney explained he is under the impression selectmen are satisfied with the decision made by the Board of Appeals on Oct. 11. If Rosenberg is not satisfied, he will have to file in Waldo County Superior Court, said Kinney.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org