Board tables Doyles’ appeal regarding Eastside Waterfront Park proposal

Thu, 03/16/2023 - 8:45am

    The third time isn’t always the charm. The Boothbay Harbor Board of Appeals considered remanding a decision back to the planning board for a third time March 9 before tabling the request. On Nov. 9, the appeals board received a planning board response pertaining to the Eastside Waterfront Park Project’s permit. But the appeals board ruled it did not have “sufficient” evidence to make a decision. 

    On Oct. 30, 2021, Boothbay Harbor Appeals Board also remanded a decision back to the planning board regarding Eastside Waterfront Park’s proposal.  The appeals board sent a letter seeking clarification on four points regarding Joseph and Jill Doyle’s appeal of the project abutting their Atlantic Avenue home.

    On Jan. 31, the planning board answered three satisfactorily, but had a remaining question. The appeals board sought clarification on the planning board’s response to “It’s not clear the planning board considered all proposed parking sites, and this should be made clear.” The  planning board responded, it considered all proposed parking spots, but did not provide additional supporting evidence. 

    After a 90-minute review, the appeals board, once again remanded the appeal back to the planning board seeking more information about one question.

    On Nov. 9, the appeals board received a response to the second remand. Again, the appeals board received what it described as a “disappointing explanation.” Appeals board members Wendy Wolf, Rosemary Bourette and Ron Cohen all concluded the response did not provide sufficient evidence. In the appeals board’s request, they sought evidence regarding the location of a parking lot in the southern sector. The ordinance required evidence showing the location met  “greatest practical extent” criteria. 

    In their second response, the planning board provided the applicant’s site plan as evidence.“I’m loathe to remand something back to the planning board, but I’m disappointed with the language in the question that was answered so narrowly. It left us with insufficient information in determining whether there is evidence showing greatest practical extent,” Wolf said. Both Cohen and Bourette agreed.

    The appeals board sought legal advice from lawyer James Haddow of Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow, who advised against a third remand. “You’ve done what you can. If this goes to court, the judge would likely remand it back to the planning board,” he said. 

    In tabling the decision, the appeals board will review past planning board minutes attempting to find evidence supporting the greatest practical extent standard. Wolf explained the board must review the “written record,” but that may include recordings of the past planning board meetings. Haddow was not sure if video and audio recordings could be reviewed.

    In October 2020, Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation received planning board approval for the park. The Doyles are appealing several aspects of the project.

    The appeals board will reconvene at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 16 in the conference room.