HOPE – “I’m going to read you the bad news,” said Planning Board Chair Blaine Richardson to a property owner who has built a lengthy driveway/access road and cut down trees along Lermond Pond, despite a stop work order from the town’s Code Enforcement Officer.

The bad news for Doug Kelly was that fines imposed per day for shoreland zone violations could add up to between $36,900 and $922,000, according to Richardson.

Town Administrator and Code Enforcement Officer Samantha Mank confirmed that fines under the law are a minimum of $100 per day and a maximum of $2,500 for these kinds of violations.

Kelly may be able to work out a consent agreement with the town to mitigate and restore the conditions at this project on the lake and avoid going to court. The issue has been brought to two town boards: the Planning Board, which has decided not to approve his application after-the-fact for the driveway project, and the Select Board, which may, in the near future, approve bringing in the town attorney to work out the consent agreement.

Kelly has submitted to the town a drawing that shows an access road, a proposed 1,500-square-foot camp house with a circular driveway, a shed, a boat launch, a dock and floats. According to town documents, part of the problem is that in cutting down trees he has interrupted the canopy in the shoreland zone.

In documents, Mank noted a 20-foot wide swath cleared down to within 15 feet of the water.

All of this work was done without receiving any permits from the town, according to Mank.

Doug Kelly’s plans for his Lermond Pond property. Courtesy of the Town of Hope

Mank told Kelly about a year ago to stop work on the property, and she said in the meetings that the work has continued despite that.

Kelly attempted to show that he had a DEP permit, but Mank and Planning Board members said that permit requires prior town permit approvals to be valid.

Richardson stressed the importance of preventing runoff from the property from getting into the lake. He said right now the water is clear and clean, but if that is not preserved, it could result in algae blooms and other problems.

A Googlemap of the area. Googlemaps

Kelly told the Select Board he has talked to Gartley & Dorsky Engineering about coming up with a plan for the remediation work needed. The Select Board has put the issue on hold until more information is available to be used in drafting a possible consent agreement. The board will have to approve spending for the town attorney to work on that agreement.

Road Commissioner John Monroe spoke on behalf of Kelly in the Select Board meeting. He said he had done some work on the property 10 years before and the DEP was there to inspect it at the time.

He said what is happening on the property is no different from work going on at Rick Catalano’s property on another part of the lake, but he said the difference is that Richardson doesn’t see that side of the pond from his house. He said Richardson did not like looking at the work done on the property 10 years ago.

“There’s a different standard here,” he said.

Mank asked if Monroe was making a report concerning Catalano.

Monroe replied that he did not think either property owner did anything wrong.

Mank asserted that there are violations with Kelly’s project.

Select Board Vice Chair Dick Crabtree told Kelly the town didn’t want him to have to spend any money that he did not have to, “but we didn’t create the violations, you did.”

Related Headlines