D. Warren, Justice Superior Court
the court is an appeal by Joseph and Candace Satlak from a
March 14, 2018 decision of the Scarborough Zoning Board of
Appeals (ZBA) upholding the issuance of a building permit to
defendants Pamela DonAroma, Dan Hayden, and Orville Karan for
an accessory structure on their property on East Grand Avenue
in the Pine Point area of Scarborough.
80B appeal, interpretation of a local ordinance is a question
of law that is subject to de novo review, isis
Development LLC v. Town of Wells. 2003 ME 149 ¶ 3
n.4, 836 A.2d 1285. In contrast, factual determinations made
by a local planning board will only be overturned if they are
not adequately supported by evidence in the record.
Jordan v. City of Ellsworth. 2003 ME 82
¶ 8, 828 A.2d 768. Local characterizations or findings
of fact as to what meets ordinance standards "will be
accorded substantial deference." Thus, on factual issues
the court may not substitute its judgment for that of the
authorities. Just because a different conclusion could be
drawn from the record does not justify overturning a
municipal land use decision if there is evidence in the
record that could support the town's determination,
Twigg v. Town of Kennebunk, 662
A.2d 914, 916 (Me. 1995). To prevail on factual issues, the
party challenging a town's decision must show that the
evidence compels a different result. Id.
property (2 East Grand Avenue) is a non-conforming lot of
record in the R-4A zoning district. The ordinance requires
properties in the R-4A zoning district to be 10, 000 square
feet with 80 feet of street frontage. (R. 181-82).
Defendants' lot has 9, 191 square feet and no street
frontage (R. 41). It is not disputed that defendants' lot
and the preexisting structures on that lot are grandfathered.
Instead of bordering a street, defendants' lot is set
between other properties and is accessed by a 10 ft. wide
right of way which runs south from East Grand Avenue to
defendants' northern lot line. (R. 41). Defendants share
that right of way with the Satlaks, whose lot (4 East Grand
Avenue) lies between defendants' lot and East Grand
Avenue. (R. 1-4, 41).
December 13, 2017 the Town's Code Enforcement Officer
approved defendants' application for a building permit to
build a two-story accessory structure which is located 16
feet inside defendants' northern boundary line, which is
the same boundary line where the right of way terminates. (R.
9, 42). The Satlaks appealed that decision to the
Scarborough ZBA, which denied the appeal by a 4-1 vote after
a hearing on February 14, 2018 (R. 56; Supp. R.
7-10). The following day the Board sent the
Satlaks a letter confirming that their appeal had been
denied. (R. 57). A month later, on March 14, 2018, the SBA
issued a written decision setting forth findings and
conclusions in denying the Satlaks' appeal. (Supp. R.
dispute in this case turns on whether the "minimum front
yard" provision applicable in the R-4A zone applies to
the defendants' accessory structure. The Satlaks contend
that a 30 foot front yard setback requirement should be
applied from the defendant's northern property line to
the accessory structure, which is only 16 feet from the
northern property line.
R-4A Space and Bulk Regulations in Section XV.I (D) include
Minimum front yard, all buildings 30 feet
Minimum rear and side yards, all buildings 15 feet*
*Buildings higher than 30 feet shall have side and rear yards
not less than 50% ...