Board of Appeals

Pages:
Contact Information
Contact: 
Pam Ross
Phone: 
Contact the town offices, Phone: 207-666-5531 Fax: 207-666-5532
Hours: 
Meets periodically, as issues come before the Board

Board Members (term expiration)

  • Mark Favreau, Chair (2021)
  • Kathleen Montejo, VIce Chair (2022 Alternate)
  • Ed Friedman (2021)
  • Sylvia Hultman (2022)
  • Willaim Bryan (2022)
  • David Jones (2022)

BOARD OF APPEALS ORDINANCE FOR THE TOWN OF BOWDOINHAM

I – GENERAL PROVISIONS

A. The purpose of this ordinance is to create a Board of Appeals for the Town of Bowdoinham under its home rule authority and pursuant to Title 30-A M.R.S.A. Section 2691.

B. It shall be the responsibility of the Board to become familiar with all the duly enacted ordinances of the Town which it may be expected to act upon as well as with the applicable state statutes.

C. It shall be the responsibility of the Board to become familiar with the community goals, desires and policies as expressed in a comprehensive plan and grant the minimum relief which will insure that the goals and policies of the plan are preserved and substantial justice is done.

II – APPOINTMENTS

A. The Board shall consist of five members appointed by the municipal officers of the Town of Bowdoinham for five years. The initial appointments shall be set forth in this ordinance in order to ratify the existing appeals board membership. Following the enactment of this Ordinance, the fifth board member shall be appointed to serve until June 30, 2001. Thereafter, as board member’s terms expire, all appointment to the board shall be for five years.

B. The municipal officers may appoint up to three (3) associated members to the Board for five (5) year terms. The Chairperson of the Board of Appeals shall designate which associate at a meeting shall serve in place of any absent member.

C. Neither a municipal officer nor his or her spouse may be a member or an associate member of the Board of Appeals.

D. Any member of the board of Appeals may be removed form the Board, for cause, by the municipal officers before expiration of that member’s term, but only after notice and an opportunity for a hearing at which the member in question has an opportunity to refute specific charges. The term “for cause” shall include failure to attend three (3) consecutive Board meetings or hearings without sufficient justification, or for voting when the member has a conflict of interest.

E. When there is a permanent vacancy of a full or associate member, the Secretary of the Board of Appeals shall immediately notify the Town Clerk. The municipal officers shall within 60 days appoint a person to fill the unexpired term.

III – OFFICERS AND DUTIES

A. The officers of the Board of Appeals shall consist of a Chairperson and a Secretary, who shall be elected annually by a majority of the Board. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Board shall elect a Acting Chairperson as necessary.

B. CHAIRPERSON. The Chairperson shall perform all the duties required by law, this ordinance, or rules adopted by the Board. The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Board and rule on issues of evidence, order, and procedure, and shall take such other actions as are necessary for the efficient and orderly conduct of hearings, unless directed otherwise by a majority of the Board. The Chairperson shall appoint any committee found necessary to carry out the business of the Board.

C. SECRETARY. The Secretary, subject to the direction of the Board and the Chairperson, shall keep minutes of all Board proceedings, showing the vote of each question. The Secretary shall also arrange proper and legal notice of hearings, attend to correspondence of the Board, and to other duties as are normally carried out by a Secretary. The Secretary shall keep a record of all resolutions, transactions, correspondence, findings and determination of the Board, and shall prepare a complete record of each hearing including: dates(s), time(s), place(s)of the hearing(s); subject of the hearing; identification of each participant; any agreements made between parties and the Board regarding procedures; the testimony presented; findings of fact and conclusion; the decisions of the Board; and the date of issuance of the decision. All records are public and may be inspected at reasonable times.

D. ACTING CHAIRPERSON. The Acting Chairperson shall serve in the absence of the Chairperson and shall have all the powers of the Chairperson during the Chairperson’s absence, disability, or disqualification.

IV – CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Any question of whether a particular issue involves a “conflict of interest” sufficient to disqualify a member form voting thereon, shall be decided by a majority vote of the members, except the member whose potential conflict is under consideration. The term “conflict of interest” shall be construed to mean direct or indirect pecuniary interest, which shall include pecuniary benefit to any member of the person’s immediate family (parents, spouse, grandparents, children, grandchildren, e.g.) or employer or the employer of any member of the person’s immediate family.

V – POWERS, DUTIES AND LIMITATIONS

A. Ordinance Interpretation. The Board may interpret the provisions of any Town Ordinance which are called into question. An interpretation may be made as part of an appeal or may be at the request of the Selectmen, Planning Board, Bowdoinham’s Codes Enforcement Officer, or licensed Plumbing Inspector.

B. District Boundary Lines Interpretation. The Board may interpret District boundary lines as described in the Bowdoinham Code, Chapter 1, Article 1, of the Land Use Regulation and Shoreland Zoning Ordinance or Shoreland Zoning Ordinance and in accordance with the State of Maine Guidelines for Municipal Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, dated March 24, 1990, and as may be subsequently amended, said Guidelines having been adopted by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection and mandated on the Town of Bowdoinham, July 14, 1992. An interpretation of Zone boundaries may be made as part of an appeal hearing, or made at the request of the Selectmen, Planning Board, Bowdoinham’s Codes Enforcement Officer, or licensed Plumbing Inspector.

C. Variances. The Board may consider and grant a variance from a provision in a Town Ordinance when that Ordinance provides for such variance. The Board’s variance authority is limited to provisions in Town Ordinances which establish what criteria may be varied. Requests for variances shall be made upon application directly to the Board of Appeals, and shall not require a prior decision by the Codes Enforcement Officer, Planning Board, or other Municipal Official. Standards for variances shall be in accordance with Section 16(H)(2) of the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance and Section 1-112(C)(1) of the Land Use Ordinance.

D. Administrative Appeals. The Board may hear and decide appeals where it has been alleged that there is an error in any interpretation, determination, requirement or decision made by the Codes Enforcement Officer or a failure to act by the Codes Enforcement Officer or in any other administrative matter involving the Codes Enforcement Officer in the administration of any applicable Land Use or Building related Ordinances of the Town of Bowdoinham. Administrative appeals shall not include enforcement decisions by the Codes Enforcement Officer or the failure to provide for enforcement. The appeal shall be on the basis of the record compiled by the Codes Enforcement Officer and additional submissions provided by the appellant and other aggrieved parties and the decision shall be made on the basis of this record and material and shall not be a hearing de novo. In acting on administrative appeals, the Board of Appeals may sustain the action or inaction of the Codes Enforcement Officer or may modify or reverse his or her action if the Board of Appeals decides that the Codes Enforcement Officer was in error.

E. Planning Board Appeals. The Board may hear and decide appeals from any final decision of the Planning Board, within thirty (30) days of the date of the decision, by any aggrieved party. The appeal shall be on the basis of the record compiled by the Planning Board and additional submissions provided by the appellant and other aggrieved parties and the decision shall be made on the basis of this record and material and shall not be a hearing de novo. The burden of proof shall be on the appellant to demonstrate that the Planning Board has made an error of law, of application of the particular Ordinance, or of fact or interpretation of fact. The hearing on the appeal shall be considered a public hearing and subject to the public hearing notice requirements of Article IX of this Ordinance. The Board of Appeals shall have the power to affirm, reverse, or modify, with or without conditions, the decision of the Planning Board or, if the record is not sufficient or further information needs to be provided, to remand the matter back to the Planning Board for further proceedings.

F. Harbormaster Appeals. The Board may hear and determine appeals from decisions rendered by the Bowdoinham Harbormaster pursuant to the Harbor and Waterfront Rules and Regulations.

G. Limitations. The Board of Appeals may not hear appeals for requests for tax abatements or poverty abatements.

VI – MEETINGS

A. The annual organization meeting of the Board of Appeals shall be the first regular meeting of each fiscal year.

B. The regular meeting of the Board shall be pursuant to a schedule adopted by the Board. The Chairperson shall call a meeting of the Board in response to a written request for an administrative or variance appeal by any aggrieved party or property owner, or a interpretation appeal by a town official as provided for above. Such a meeting shall be held within thirty (30) days of receipt of a written application and the applicant and abutters and town officials shall have at least seven (7) days notice of the meeting date.

C. Special meetings of the Board may be called by the Chairperson. At least forty eight (48) hours written notice of the time, place, and business of the meeting shall be given to each member of the Board of Appeals, Selectmen, Town Manager, Planning Board, and Code Enforcement Officer or LPI.

D. All meetings of the Board of Appeals shall be open to the public, except executive sessions. No votes may be taken by the Board except in public meeting. The Board shall not hold executive sessions except for consultation between the Boards and its legal counsel concerning litigation or other legal matters where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the Town or Board at a substantial disadvantage.

VII – VOTING

A. A quorum shall consist of three (3) members of the Board. No hearing or meeting of the Board shall be held, nor any action taken, in the absence of a quorum; however, those members present shall be entitled to request the Chairperson to call a special meeting for a subsequent date. If a member has a conflict of interest, that member shall not be counted by the Board in establishing the quorum for such matter.

B. Decisions on any matter before the Board shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the membership at the meeting or hearing but not less than three (3) affirmative votes.

C. If the Board has associate members, the Chairperson shall appoint an associate member to act for a regular member who is: disqualified from voting, unable to attend the hearing, or absent from any portion of the hearing due to late arrival. The associate member will act for the regular member until the case is decided.

D. No member shall vote on the determination of any matter requiring public hearing unless he or she has attended the public hearing thereon.

VIII – APPLICATION PROCEDURE

A. Any person aggrieved by an action which comes under the jurisdiction of the Board pursuant to Section V must file such application for appeal, in writing on forms provided by the Town within thirty (30) days of the granting or denial of a permit. The applicant shall file this appeal at the office of the Town Clerk, setting forth the ground for the appeal. Upon receiving the application for appeal, the Town Clerk shall notify the Chairperson of the Board

B. Any person requesting a variance which comes under the jurisdiction of the Board of Appeals must file an application for a variance, in writing on forms provided by the Town. The application must be filed with the Town Clerk, who, upon receiving the application shall notify the Chairperson of the Board. The fee to accompany application for a variance shall be fifty ($50) dollars. Checks are to be made payable to the Town of Bowdoinham.

IX – HEARINGS

A. The Board of Appeals shall schedule a public hearing on all appeals applications within thirty (30) days of the filing of a completed application for an administrative or variance appeal. The thirty (30) day requirement may be extended by mutual agreement between the Board and the applicant.

B. The Board of Appeals shall cause notice of the date, time, and place of such hearing, the location of the building or lot referenced in the appeal, and the general nature of the question involved, to be given to the applicant, and to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least seven (7) dates prior to the hearing. The Board shall also cause notice of the hearing to be given to the owners of abutting property, owners of he property referenced in the appeal (if no the applicants), the Selectmen, the Planning Board, the Code Enforcement Officer, and the Plumbing Inspector (if relevant) at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing.

C. The Board of Appeals is authorized to adopt “Rules of Conduct and Procedures for Conducting Public Hearings.”

X – DECISIONS

A. Decisions by the Board shall be made not later than thirty (30) days from the date of the final hearing on the appeal.

B. The final decision on any matter before the Board shall be made by written order signed by the Chairperson. The transcript of testimony, if any, and exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceedings, shall constitute the record. All decisions shall become part of the record and shall include a statement of findings and conclusions, as well as the reasons or basis therefore, upon all the materials issues of fact, law or discretion presented and the appropriate order, relief or denial thereof.

C. Notice of any decision shall be sent by certified mail or had delivered to the applicant, his or her representative or agent, the Planning Board, and Code Enforcement Officer, the Selectmen within seven (7) days of the decision.

D. Decisions of the Board shall be filed in the office of the Town Clerk and shall be made a public record. The date of filing of each decision shall be entered in the official records and minutes of the Board.

XI – CONSIDERATIONS

A. The Board may reconsider any decision. The Board must decide to reconsider any decision, notify all interested parties and make any change in its original decision within thirty (30) days of its prior decision. A meeting to decide whether to reconsider shall be called by the Chairperson in accordance with Article VI of this ordinance. The Board may conduct additional hearings and receive additional evidence and testimony.

B. Reconsideration should be for one of the following reasons: 1. The record contains significant factual errors due to fraud or mistake, regarding facts upon which the decision was based; or 2. The Board misinterpreted the ordinance, followed improper procedures, or acted beyond its jurisdiction.

XII – APPEAL TO SUPERIOR COURT

The decision of the Board of Appeals may be taken, within forty-five (45) days after the decision is rendered, by any party to Superior Court in accordance with the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure.

XIII – RATIFICATION

In enacting this ordinance, the Town ratifies all the prior decisions and actions of the Board known as the Bowdoinham Board of Appeals since it s appointment in 1976. XIV – SEVERABILITY The invalidity of any section or provision of this Ordinance shall not be held to invalidate any other section or provision of this Ordinance.

End of Ordinance

Adopted by the Inhabitants of Bowdoinham Annual Town Meeting – June 24, 1998 Special Town Meeting January 8, 2008 “Attest: A true copy of an ordinance entitled Board of Appeals Ordinance, as certified to me by the municipal officers of the Town of Bowdoinham, Maine, and adopted by the special town meeting on the 8th day of January, 2008.” _____________________________ Pamela C. Ross, Bowdoinham Town Clerk

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