Planning board denies artist’s request for change of use

Richard Reinert considers appealing decision on prohibition of retail sales and educaton
Sat, 01/19/2019 - 7:45am

    The Boothbay Planning Board denied a request by a seasonal resident for a change of use to convert his garage into an artist’s studio. Richard and Ann Reinert bought a seasonal home last year at 680 Ocean Point Road. He is a fine art painter and wanted to convert the property’s garage into an art studio. He received a building permit for the conversion but a second request, a home occupation permit for using his new studio to sell art and teach classes, was rejected Jan. 16 by the planning board.

    The home is in a special residential zone which prohibits retail sales and educational facilities. Reinert didn’t think there would be so many restrictions in a small rural Maine community. His property has room for four parking spaces, and he didn’t envision his proposal becoming problematic. “I came here because this is a well-known area for artists,” he said. “I thought Maine was a pretty libertarian state, and I’m surprised there’s a restriction on selling a few paintings and teaching some small classes.”

    Reinert is considering appealing the board’s decision. On Jan. 17, he requested an appeal application, but he hasn’t returned it, according to Code Enforcement Officer Jason Lorrain. Another option for Reinert is patience. The planning board is currently revising municipal ordinances for voter approval in either May or November. Planning Board Chairman Sam Morris explained restrictions on home occupations in special residential zones may be lifted in the near future. “We’re working on them now, and then it will be up to the voters,” he said.

    In other action, the board unanimously approved three other applications. Mark and Ann Sullivan of Wilton, Connecticut received conditional approval to construct a 10 foot by 10 foot float and two 2-piling dolphins to an existing pier. The Sullivans’ property is at 563 West Side Road. The addition also includes a new 45 foot by 9 foot skidway seven feet north of an existing one. Approval is contingent upon the applicant submitting updated plan drawings including a kayak rack and storage box.

    Mark and Jan Doukakis received conditional approval for adding an 8-foot by 10- foot rounded addition to a porch at their 8 Lookout Drive property. The applicant is required to re-vegetate 80 square feet to maintain the same lot coverage. Lorrain reported the code enforcement office received three or four letters from abutters about the application. Each letter concerns the project covering up a pipe to abutters to an existing common septic system. Carpenter Richard Spoffford represented the applicants. He reported the project wouldn’t impact the pipe or common septic system.

    William and Geraldine Duncan of Raleigh, North Carolina received approval for expanding a second floor living space to add a bathroom. The plan involves expanding a dormer and adding a second egress window at their 81 Royall Road property. The application didn’t mention anything about creating more bedroom. But the proposal generated a complaint letter from an abutter concerned about his neighbor converting the property into an Airbnb.  The board responded that even if the application mentioned an additional bedroom, the town couldn’t act because the ordinance had no rules pertaining to Airbnb.

    The board meets next at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the municipal building.