A Superior Court judge has ruled against Brunswick residents who wanted the city to hold a referendum on how best to use a waterfront parcel that the Town Council had decided to sell.

More than 1,100 Brunswick residents signed a petition seeking the referendum – many wanted the land preserved as a public park – but the council rejected the petition and sold the 4-acre parcel on Maquoit Bay to a California couple for more than a half-million dollars.

Justice Lance E. Walker, in a nine-page ruling dated Monday, found the appeal filed by the Brunswick Citizens for Collaborative Government was moot because the land has been sold.

Walker did, however, scold the town for not holding another public hearing after residents filed their petition. According to court documents, Walker said the council “was not within its discretion to decline to hold a public hearing after the requisite number of signed petitions was filed.”

However, the judge’s criticism has no bearing on the Mere Point Road property because it has already been sold, Town Attorney Stephen Langsdorf said.

While Brunswick’s charter allows residents to petition for a referendum, the results cannot be used to reverse a council order.

“The Superior Court justice in his order fully supported the council’s right to reject petitions which violate the Charter, but did say the town should have scheduled one more public hearing before the final decision was made,” Langsdorf said in a statement.

The residents collaborative in February filed an appeal of the council’s decision to sell the land. Instead of holding another hearing, the council voted 5-4 to sell the land. Councilors then took a second vote, voting 7-2 to reject the petition.

Langsdorf said that the town sold the land on June 15 to Daniel and Kathryn Frost of Irvine, California, for $550,000.

The property, which was acquired by the town after the previous owner failed to pay property taxes for several years, had been assessed at $250,000. It came with a derelict building that will be torn down by the Frosts. The property is located at 946 Mere Point Road.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]