letter to the editor

Board of Appeals’ scope of review

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 2:45pm

Dear Editor:

As a reminder, the Boothbay Harbor Board of Appeals’ jurisdiction to decide this appeal is appellate and is governed by Section 170-101.11(H)(3)(b) of Boothbay Harbor’s Land Use Ordinance (the “LUO”). Under this standard, the BOA may reverse the decision of the Planning Board only if it finds that the decision “was contrary to specific provisions of the article or contrary to the facts presented in the record to the Planning Board.”

This is a highly deferential standard. In appellate review, the BOA is not deciding on its own whether an application submitted by an applicant should be approved; rather, the BOA is making sure that the Planning Board did not make an error in rendering its decision and that the Planning Board’s decision is supported by evidence in the record. The Planning Board’s “decision is not wrong because the record is inconsistent or a different conclusion could be drawn from it.” Furthermore, the BOA’s role is limited to evaluating the specific issues raised by the appellant in the appeal, not to conduct a wholesale review of each of the Planning Board’s findings. If there is any doubt as to the scope of the BOA’s review, the BOA should confer with its own counsel prior to rendering a decision on the present appeal.

Re: Administrative Appeal of Joseph and Jill Doyle. Eastside Waterfront Park, 65 Atlantic Avenue.

The Park parking area location was originally approved with the October, 2020 site plan approval.  That site plan has never been appealed. Waterfront Preservation will nonetheless soon be making its fourth appearance before the Board of Appeals to defend the location of the parking area approved in 2020.

Boothbay Harbor

Waterfront Preservation

Board of Directors