Neighbors settle lighting dispute

By Stephanie Grinnell | May 15, 2014
Source: Vision Appraisal Cove Cottage LLC owns the property at 146 Bay View St.

Camden — Two Bay View Street neighbors feuding about light pollution have come to a mutual agreement, according to paperwork filed in Knox County Superior Court May 12.

O. Stillman Rockefeller of 148 Bay View St. agreed to pay for an architect and electrician to design and install exterior lights on his neighbor's property at 146 Bay View St., owned by Cove Cottage LLC.

Rockefeller filed a complaint Sept. 25, 2013, in Knox County Superior Court against Cove Cottage LLC. The action claimed the glare of the lights from the property was so severe, the town cited owner Judy Wolf for violating the municipal light pollution ordinance.

Cove Cottage LLC has a company with its principal place of business in Venice, Fla., said the complaint. The suit claimed the property operates lights that cast a glare onto the street and onto Rockefeller's property.

The consent agreement signed May 12 and approved by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm states the "new exterior lights at the Cove Cottage property shall be superior to its current exterior lights ... [and] shall not direct glare on the property of Rockefeller at 148 Bay View Street ... All exterior lights on the Cove Cottage property shall be directed in a downward angle. All floodlights will be shielded."

Rockefeller said in the complaint he has asked many times for the lights to be modified, but his requests have been ignored. Rockefeller said the light has caused him harm by reducing the value of his property, according to the complaint.

Wolf's attorney, Stephen Hanscom of Rockland, previously said the complaint is factually inaccurate, and his client has made changes to the light system to accommodate Rockefeller.

He said Wolf does not keep the lights on all year because she only spends four of five months in the area. He added the system operates on a timer that shuts off the lights at 10:30 p.m. each night.

In November 2012, the town issued a notice of violation for "stray, dazzling light," and the violation notice ordered Wolf to adjust or shield her property's exterior lights so they did not shine on abutting properties, said the complaint.

Hanscom said the town withdrew the violation, in part because of changes made by Wolf, and added the code enforcement officer reviewed the system in August and found no violations.

The property owners, according to Rockefeller, did not adjust the system, and the town did not take further action to enforce the ordinance because of a grandfathering issue.

Rockefeller was represented by Portland attorney David A. Soley.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka contributed to this story.

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