The Kennebec County Superior Court has dismissed the appeals filed in the case of a barn on Neck Road in China, sending the contentious issue back to the Planning Board once again.

The decision came Oct. 30, months after the appeals from both sides of the neighborhood dispute were filed in January. Both parties filed 80B appeals, which ask for a review of governmental actions that are final decisions

The case began in September 2016, when Parris and Cathy Varney applied for a conditional-use permit from the Planning Board so they could use their barn at 701 Neck Road as a commercial venue to host weddings and parties.

Some neighbors opposing the idea spoke at the public hearing, citing concerns over noise and quality of life in the area. The Planning Board denied the permit, 2-2.

The Varneys appealed to the town’s Board of Appeals in November 2016, which remanded the case to the Planning Board, saying it had reached its decision arbitrarily.

On Jan. 10, 2017, a group of residents identified in the court appeal as “the Wilkens Party,” filed an appeal of the town appeals board decision to remand the case back to the Planning Board. The group included James and Sheri Wilkens, both members of various committees in China and neighbors who live across the street from the Varneys. They asked the court to reverse the appeals board’s findings and affirm the Planning Board’s denial.

On Jan. 23, 2017, the Varneys filed an appeal of the appeals board decision as well, seeking a court order to not only send the application back to the Planning Board, but also to direct them to approve the application.

Madeline St. Amour can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

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