Boothbay considering stop work order for CMBG expansion

Selectmen discuss implementing appeals board decision rescinding permit
Posted:  Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 6:15pm

No stop work order has been issued to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, but one may be coming in the next few days or weeks. On Nov. 9, the appeals board denied a permit for CMBG’s expansion project.

On Monday, Code Enforcement Officer Art Dunlap sought legal advice for enforcing the appeals board’s decision. On Tuesday,  it was the selectmen’s turn seeking legal advice. Selectmen held an executive session with appeals board attorney John Shumadine discussing wording for enacting a stop work order. Town Manager Dan Bryer indicated that an order is forthcoming.

“There is no stop work order, but there will be one in the coming days. The lawyer is working on the verbiage, and when that is ready, it will be delivered to the code enforcement office,” Bryer said.

On Nov. 9, in a 3-2 vote, the appeals board reversed a December planning board decision issuing a permit for the project. During the appeal process, CMBG was allowed to continue with the construction project. According to Boothbay code enforcement officials, phase one of the project is nearly complete.

On Nov. 13, Executive Director Bill Cullina notified town officials, CMBG would file a reconsideration request with the appeals board. In his letter, Cullina wrote: “We will include in the request for reconsideration our concerns regarding fairness and constitutional due process in the board’s recent proceedings; a clarification on the scope of the permitted use; and request for consideration that there is no jeopardy to the public water supply.”

On Nov. 14, CMBG sent official notification to the town and all five selectmen it is seeking an appeals board reconsideration. In the letter, CMBG attorney Mary Costigan called the appeals board decision “flawed” and requested Boothbay officials take no action until the reconsideration is heard.

“The most fundamental flaw is their conclusion the entire permit should be denied, despite the fact they (appeals board) determined the entire project meets all development and performance standards,” she wrote. “There is no legal basis to deny the permit for those aspects of the project located outside the watershed overlay zone.”

Costigan stated the project’s remaining work is permitted since it occurs outside the watershed zone.

The appeals board hasn’t set a date to consider CMBG’s request.