Tall house complaint deemed timely; issue of height remains undecided



LAMOINE — A decision on whether a home under construction on Marlboro Beach Road is too tall will have to wait until at least Sept. 24.

At its meeting July 11, the Lamoine Board of Appeals decided that an appeal made by Alan B. Moldawer was timely in accordance with the town ordinance.

Moldawer is appealing a decision by Code Enforcement Officer Rebecca Albright, who ruled the house meets the requirements of the ordinance.

The board did not rule or attempt to rule on whether the building is too tall. That issue will be considered at the Sept. 24 meeting.

Appeals Board Chairman Hancock “Griff” Fenton said attorney James Collier at last week’s meeting gave a presentation on the timeliness of the appeal.

“He had researched the issue and advised the [board] that the appeal was timely,” Fenton said. The board voted unanimously to accept Collier’s recommendation.

Moldawer, whose property is across the road from the new home, contacted Albright in March, complaining that the home in question, owned by Thomas and Katherine True, exceeds the maximum allowed height of 35 feet.

Albright said Moldawer disagreed with her determination that the home is in compliance with the ordinance and they continued to correspond via email. She sent him a letter affirming her determination April 3. Moldawer wrote his formal letter of appeal dated May 2.

“The appeal was filed in 29 days, which was within the 30-day window” required by town ordinance, said Fenton, adding it was determined that Albright’s decision was made in the letter dated April 3.

The July 11 Board of Appeals meeting was the second held to address the issue of the timeliness of Moldawer’s complaint. Board members were unable to make a decision on the issue at a meeting May 20, saying they did not have enough information and requesting copies of related documents.

Albright said she and Planning Board Chairman John Holt visited the site March 13 and determined the building to be 28 feet, 10 inches tall. The calculation is an average of measurements taken on both sides of the house. Measurements taken again March 27 confirmed those calculations, she said.

The ordinance states that a building’s height is measured as the vertical distance between the highest point of the structure and the average final grade, or the average original grade, whichever is greater. Grade refers to the elevation of the ground under the home.

If Moldawer were to win his appeal, the Trues would most likely be required to reduce the building’s height, Albright has said previously. However, that decision would be up to the board.

 

Johanna S. Billings

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Johanna S. Billings covers eastern Hancock County and western Washington County. An avid photographer, she lives in Steuben with her husband and several cats. She welcomes tips and story ideas. Email her at [email protected]

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