BRANDON R. PLOURDE and CHARISSA A. PLOURDE, Plaintiffs
TOWN OF CASCO, DANIEL VALLEE, and HUGH SOLARI, Defendants
DECISION AND ORDER
Mills Justice, Superior Court.
the court is plaintiffs Brandon R. Plourde and Charissa A.
Plourde's Rule 80B appeal challenging defendant Town of
Casco's denial of a building permit to construct a dock.
For the following reasons, the court affirms the decision of
defendant Town of Casco Zoning Board of Appeals.
own property at 32 Garland Road in the town of Casco, Maine.
(R. 11, 120.) This property is located in what is known as
the Sebago Lake Shores subdivision. (R. 11.) Within this
subdivision is an area known as "Parkland, " which
consists of a shoreline common area designated to benefit all
subdivision owners within the Sebago Lake Shores subdivision.
(R. 17, 55.)
2016, plaintiffs acquired a dock from the Kennedy family. (R.
39.) This dock was located on parkland property and in 2005
the Kennedy family had been issued a building permit allowing
construction of the dock. (R. 42.) The 2005 building permit
lists the relevant lot as lot 109 on map 20. (R. 42.) At the
time of the issuance of the 2005 permit, and throughout their
ownership of the dock, the Kennedy family owned property
within the subdivision located at 48 Acadia Road. (R. 36, 39,
44.) After selling their dock to the plaintiffs, the Kennedy
family sold their property to a separate party. (R. 39, 44.)
December 9, 2016, Anna Gould, the new owner of the Kennedy
property, filed a complaint with the Town of Casco regarding
the dock. (R. 39, 43.) On that same day, the Town's Code
Enforcement Officer (CEO) conducted an inspection and
determined that the existing dock was in violation of certain
sections of the Town's zoning ordinance. (R. 44.) On
December 12, 2016, the CEO, unable to ascertain the new owner
of the dock, issued a Notice of Violation and Stop Work Order
to the Sebago Lake Shores Association ordering the removal of
the dock and invalidating the dock's permit. (R. 39,
44-45.) In the Notice, the CEO specifically cited as
violations the facts that the dock was too wide, that the
permit had been issued to the prior owner of 48 Acadia Road,
and that the dock appeared to be a permanent dock instead of
a temporary dock as allowed by the permit. (R. 44.) The CEO
also stated that a failure to appeal the order would result
in the loss of the right to challenge the decision. (R. 45.)
March 17, 2017, after receiving notice that the dock was in
violation of the Zoning Ordinance, plaintiffs filed an
application with the Town to construct a "new temporary
dock on association parkland." (R. 1, 39.) Plaintiffs
intended the dock to remain in the same location as the
former dock. (R. 39.) The CEO issued a permit for the
temporary dock on March 31, 2017. (R. 1.) The lot associated
with the 2017 permit is lot 48 on map 22. (R. 1.) On April
27, 2017, Defendants Daniel Valle and Hugh Solari filed an
appeal with the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals to contest
the issuance of the permit. (R. 4-5.)
26, 2017, the Board held an evidentiary hearing during which
the Board heard presentations from defendants, plaintiffs,
and other members of the public. (R. 112-18.) At the
conclusion of the hearing, the Board upheld the appeal and
overturned the CEO's issuance of the permit. (R. 118.) In
its written decision, the Board determined that: (1) because
the prior dock permit was not issued to the predecessors in
title of plaintiffs' property located at 32 Garland Road,
but was instead issued to the owners of a different parcel
located at 48 Acadia Road, plaintiffs' application was
for a new dock and not a replacement dock; and (2)
plaintiffs had located their dock in a beach area and thus
violated the Town's Zoning Ordinance. (R. 120-21.)
the Town of Casco Zoning Board of Appeals conducted a de novo
review by hearing evidence and deciding facts, the
Board's decision is the operative decision subject to
judicial review by the Superior Court. See Aydelott v.
City of Portland, 2010 ME 25, ¶¶ 9-10, 990
A.2d 1024. The court reviews the decision of the Board for
errors of law, abuse of discretion, or findings not supported
by substantial evidence in the record. Veilleux v. City
of Augusta, 684 A.2d 413, 415 (Me. 1996). The court will
not "weigh the merits of evidence or substitute [its]
judgment for that of the agency." Watts v. Board of
Environmental Protection, 2014 ME 91, ¶ 11, 97 A.3d
115. "Substantial evidence exists if there is any
competent evidence in the record to support a decision."
21 Seabran. LLC v. Town of Naples, 2017 ME 3, ¶
10, 153 A.3d 113.
interpretation of an ordinance is a question of law that the
court reviews de novo. Ayddott, 2010 ME 25, ¶
10, 990 A.2d 1024. The court examines "the plain meaning
of the language of the ordinance and [the court] construe[s]
its terms reasonably in light of the purposes and objectives
of the ordinance and its general structure." Stewart
v. Town of Sedgwick, 2002 ME 81, ¶ 6, 797 A .2d 27.
The court will not interpret an ordinance in a manner that
creates "absurd, inconsistent, unreasonable or illogical
results." Banks v. Maine RSA #1, 1998 ME 272,
¶ 4, 721 A.2d 655. While interpretation is a question of
law, substantial deference is accorded to local
characterizations or fact-finding regarding what meets
ordinance standards. Rudolph v. Golick, 2010 ME 106,
¶ 8, 8 A.3d 684.
appeal concerns two central issues. First, plaintiffs contend
that the Zoning Board of Appeals erred when it found that the
plaintiffs' dock was not a grandfathered nonconforming
dock. Second, plaintiffs argue that, even if the dock did not
have grandfathered status, the Board erred when it found that
the dock did not meet ordinance standards.