STEVEN WOLFRAM et al.
TOWN OF NORTH HAVEN et al.
Argued: February 8, 2017
Matthew D. Manahan, Esq., and Catherine R. Connors, Esq.
(orally), Pierce Atwood LLP, Portland, for appellants Steven
Wolfram and the Mullins Development Trust
L. Gibbons, Esq. (orally), Camden, for appellee Town of North
B. Federle, Esq. (orally), Federle Law, LLC, Portland, for
appellees Nebo Lodge, Inc., and Nebo Real Estate, LLC
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Steven Wolfram and the Mullins Development Trust appeal from
a judgment of the Superior Court (Knox County, Billings,
J.) affirming a decision of the Town of North Haven
Board of Appeals upholding a permit issued by the Town of
North Haven Planning Board to Nebo Lodge, Inc., and Nebo Real
Estate, LLC. We affirm the judgment.
In October 2013, Nebo Lodge, Inc., and Nebo Real Estate, LLC,
(collectively, Nebo Lodge) filed an application for a land
use permit. Nebo Lodge, which operates an inn and restaurant
in North Haven, sought to tear down "the
bungalow"-one of two existing structures on the
property-and rebuild it as "the annex." The other
structure, "the lodge, " houses the inn and
restaurant. The lodge was previously renovated and expanded
in 2009 and 2010.
In addition to increasing the size of the annex structure,
Nebo Lodge proposed a change in use, including two bedrooms
for staff; an office; storage for food, bikes, trash, and
recycling; and a kitchen for processing, refrigerating, and
freezing food. Nebo Lodge submitted a second application for
a land use permit seeking authorization for "wrecking,
" described as a "partial tear down" that
would leave a "small piece" of the previous
bungalow structure intact.
The Planning Board held three public hearings on October 30
and November 3 and 4, 2013. Steven Wolfram, who owns property
across the street from the Nebo Lodge property, opposed the
applications. On November 13, 2013, the Planning Board
approved the applications with conditions.
Wolfram appealed to the North Haven Board of Appeals (BOA),
and the BOA held hearings on March 12 and 17,
2014. See North Haven, Me., Land-Use
Ordinance § 5.5 (Feb. 16, 2010). Four BOA members
recused themselves due to conflicts of interest, and they
were replaced by other individuals believed to have no
conflicts. The BOA accepted evidence and made factual
findings. The BOA affirmed the Planning Board decision in a
written decision with findings of fact and conclusions of
Wolfram appealed to the Superior Court, contending that the
BOA erred in interpreting various provisions in North
Haven's Ordinance and that the permit review process
violated his due process rights. See 30-A M.R.S.
§ 2691(4) (2016); M.R. Civ. P. 8OB. The court affirmed
the BOA's decision. Wolfram appealed. See M.R.
Civ. P. 8OB(n); M.R. App. P. 2.
Standard of Review
"Our review of administrative decision-making is
deferential and limited." Beal v. Town of Stockton
Springs,2017 ME 6, ¶ 13, 153 A.3d 768. "When
a zoning board of appeals acts as the tribunal of original
jurisdiction as both fact finder and decision maker,
review its decision directly for errors of law, abuse of
discretion, or findings not supported by substantial evidence
in the record." Brackett v. Town of Rangeley,2003 ME 109, ¶ 15, 831 A.2d 422. Ordinances are
construed de novo. Merrill v. Town of Durham, 2007
ME 50, ¶ 7, 918 A.2d 1203. As the party seeking to