This sign at 60 Bayview Road has since been taken down, according to Saco’s Codes Enforcement Officer, but a court appeal to the denial by the Saco Planning Board of a development project on the property could commence later this month. Tammy Wells Photo

ALFRED — A court appeal involving the denial by the Saco Planning Board of a developer’s proposal to build seasonal and permanent condominium units on a lot which once held seasonal cottages could commence later this summer.

Estates at Bay View, LLC, had asked for a deadline extension of a civil appeal of a case the company filed at York County Superior Court in Alfred in February, citing ongoing negotiations, which it said could resolve the matter. The extended deadline is due to expire in mid-August. As of July 31, there were no court documents filed indicating a resolution had been reached.

According to the court appeal documents, Estates at Bayview, LLC had sought approval of a plan for the property at 60 Bayview Road. The property had once contained 13 dwelling units, two of which were used for year around use. The other units were seasonal and operated in that fashion since at least the 1960s. Estates at Bayview, LLC and the property’s prior owner had demolished all but one of the seasonal rental units.

The application filed by Tim Swenson of Estates at Bayview, LLC in March 2019 had sought approval for construction of six seasonal dwelling units and two year round units to replace the original 13. Later, the company  submitted a revised plan application for six total units — four seasonal and two year round.

The appeal notes that the units that had been demolished were a legally non-conforming use because they did not meet setback requirements and lot coverage requirements, according to Saco’s zoning ordinances. The appeal filed by Estates at Bayview, LLC claims that in the plan that was denied by the Planning Board in January, the company’s proposal “sought to relocate all structure in locations that would meet applicable setbacks and overage requirements.”

The Planning Board denied the application in January. The court appeal cited the reasons outlined in the Planning Board’s finding of fact, including that the over all scale, context, massing and use throughout the site, was not conducive to a transient rental property; concern about loss of natural landscape and existing context for work done before the Planning Board review; and concern about the buildings, though termed “very nice,” being in such close proximity to other properties where traditional setbacks are met. The board felt, that overall, the plan was not compatible with the neighborhood, the court documents stated.

The court appeal claims that the Planning Board had denied the application after acknowledging it had additional questions but didn’t afford the plaintiff the opportunity to address them, and did not cite any particular finding of fact supporting its conclusions that the application was not conducive to a transient rental property, would result in a loss of landscape, or was not compatible with the neighborhood.

Among other factors, the appeal notes that the property was previously used as a short-term rental business and is expressly allowed to be continued, according to Saco’s zoning ordinance.

The appeal asks the court to reverse the decision of the Planning Board and remand the matter back to the board for a hearing.

The Planning Board denied the application on grounds it did not meet the zoning ordinance as it pertains to compatibility with neighboring buildings, meeting minutes state.

“As presented, with garages, extra storage, heat, insulation, and water shut off restriction, the Board was not convinced that seasonal use is substantiated, therefore not meeting the existing non-conforming use as transient rental property,” the Jan. 14 Planning Board meeting minutes state, in part.

In a separate action regarding the property, Saco Codes Enforcement Officer Richard Lambert said it is his understanding that a scheduled Aug. 17 Zoning Board of Appeals hearing would proceed at the request of Estates at Bayview, LLC regarding a development sign that had been on the property advertising homes. The city’s code office had ordered the sign removed; Estates at Bayview, LLC is appealing that decision – though Lambert on Monday said the sign had been taken down.

In a July filing with the Maine District Court, the city noted that the sign appeared sometime before June 18 and that it violated the city’s zoning ordinance banning “for sale” signs after a period of 14 days following a sale, which had taken place in January 2019. The filing claimed  that the owner is attempting to market lots in a subdivision not approved by the Planning Board.

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