Rockland boat firm asks if building without permit is option

By Stephen Betts | May 02, 2018
Artwork by: Yachting Solutions Yachting Solutions wants to erect two additional fabric structures on its New County Road site. This view is a graphic design of what a building would look like from Pleasant Street.

Rockland — The head of a marine business hinted that he might build two boat storage buildings without a permit after efforts to get approval from the Rockland Planning Board appeared to hit a legal brick wall.

Bill Morong, chief executive officer of Yachting Solutions Inc., made his comments during a Tuesday night, May 1, meeting of the Planning Board.

Morong asked several times what would be the penalties if he simply built the two structures without a permit.

Yachting Solutions submitted an application in January to construct two fabric buildings -- (60 feet by 120 feet and 80 feet by 120 feet). The structures would be located at its site on New County Road, adjacent to Pleasant Street.

The city has said the structures do not meet the design standards in city ordinances and are not in keeping with nearby homes.

Morong had asked if they could be erected on a temporary (two to three years) basis as the Planning Board considered. An opinion issued by the city attorney, however, concluded the Planning Board does not have the authority to waive the design standards.

Morong said an offer by the city to see if the City Council would amend the ordinances to allow for the structures to be erected was not adequate, since it would take a minimum of 90 days for any such changes in the law to be approved and take effect.

The Yachting Solutions CEO said currently he is storing boats on leased space in Searsmont, and that it is costly and inefficient to move boats there for storage when there is property a mile away from the Rockland waterfront.

Code Enforcement Officer John Root advised Morong not to build without a permit.

"I'm not trying to disrespect you. I want to know my options," Morong said at the Tuesday evening meeting.

Morong asked what would happen if he ignored a stop work order from the code office. Root said he could go to court to order a halt to construction.

The penalties for building without a permit are $100 to $2,500 per day. Any penalty could only be imposed by order of a judge.

After the meeting, Morong said his business was being hamstrung by the city and its attorney.

"We need to balance aesthetics with the needs of small businesses," he said. "Small businesses can't waive a magic wand."

He said the cost of the fabric structures would be about $50,000, compared to what he said would be $1.5 million to meet the city's standards.

He said businesses can't grow by incurring debt. He said he could employ an eight people in addition to the 42 he already employs in Rockland if he could erect the buildings.

The Planning Board approved last year one structure on the New County Road site for Yachting Solutions that was said to be temporary. Root said the plan submitted did not show how out of character the building would be. The company followed with its January 2018 application for two more structures.

While not related, Yachting Solutions has also said it wants to expand its marina in Rockland Harbor, a plan being met with strong opposition by many people in the community over the potential impact on moorings and views from the shore.

Comments (6)
Posted by: James Clinton Leach | May 02, 2018 23:59

Two homes in the immediate area. Ten plus in the immediate area of the Vo-Tech and of course that Building is in keeping with the surrounding structures correct ? And how many Millions out of our pockets for a School with declining enrollment, discontinued Adult classes because the are more affordable in the private sector....Please give me a brake or at least a pause here....The company employees 42 already with more coming onboard with these Temporary structures being added... So the Temporary structures we see all over Rockland and the entire State are in keeping with the neighbor where they set correct ( no they are not) but are permitted and most likely those home owners don't employ one person...Way to go Rockland supporting a thriving business , as usual we like to keep them Under foot and under control ........Hey zero growth that's the way to grow any Company right  and  let's not promote any future growth for our City we have enough already....up up and away the Taxes go.....



Posted by: George Terrien | May 02, 2018 19:46

Perhaps Mr. Morong is trying to prejudice the City, especially the Planning Board against him, and thus load his dice before the likely court procedure that I hope the City would initiate.  At least, he is showing Rockland how agreeable he is--or isn't, Ted Talk or not.

Did the Planning Board really need to obtain the opinion of the City Attorney about whether it could waive the design standards?  Well, at least time, the Board did not need to dismiss the need to understand them, or at least I hope so.



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | May 02, 2018 14:27

Must not have had enough room in Camden or he would have stayed there.



Posted by: Dale Hayward | May 02, 2018 13:15

Leveraged properly debt does allow business to grow. Come on now. Bullying won't though.



Posted by: Dale Hayward | May 02, 2018 13:12

Well, Well, well, here we go again. Let's see if Mr. Morong can outsmart Mr. Code Enforcement #1 and #2. This will be interesting, to say the least. This will show how much respect the City of Rockland has to "SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT". May the Rockland Lobster Festival should ban all boats and boating subject matter from the parade. Wow, I just love a parade of power.



Posted by: Nathan Kroms Davis | May 02, 2018 13:03

So Mr. Morong believes that an offer to explore changing our laws for his benefit is not "adequate" because it is not fast enough? What then would be adequate? An offer to simply let him do as he wishes?

Also, perhaps the thousands of small businesses in the US financed by loans would be curious about Mr. Morong's assertion that they "can't grow by incurring debt".



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