Councilors approve High Street consent agreement

Addresses zoning violations at 358 High St.
By Ben Holbrook | Dec 11, 2012

Belfast — City councilors approved a consent agreement to resolve zoning violations at a High Street property while also addressing flooding concerns from an abutting neighbor.

The consent agreement was brought before the Council during a Nov. 7 meeting for approval; however, at that time, abutting owner Michelle Morrow expressed concerns that a proposed driveway and drainage ditch that would be located near her property line would result in the flooding of her lot.

The consent agreement seeks to resolve several zoning violations regarding the property lot located at 358 High St. In 2003, Sean and Jennifer Weed purchased lot 32A, which is located at 358 High St., as well as the adjacent lot 32 located at 360 High St.

At that time, the Weeds requested a building permit to construct a duplex on lot 32A, but due to the characteristics of the site, which included wet soils and the cost of utility extensions, they proposed merging the two lots into one. Before that merger occurred, however, the Weeds divorced and lot 32A fell into foreclosure.

Because the two properties were never merged, several zoning violations occurred as a result of the duplex construction. Those violations include not complying with the required frontage setback; inadequate on-site parking; a parking area that is located on property not owned by the duplex and several property ownership issues.

Lot 32A is owned by Texas-based Nationstar Mortgage LLC. Judith Kennedy, who agreed to an easement to allow a driveway to cross a portion of her property, owns Lot 32.

Councilors voted to delay a decision on the consent agreement during the Nov. 7 meeting, citing a lack of expertise in regard to the concerns raised by Morrow through her attorney, Paul Gibbons, and the specifications of the proposed driveway that would be installed.

At the Dec. 4 meeting, Gibbons said he and his client were disappointed that they were unable to see a copy of the proposed driveway plan before the meeting, but that they were willing to work with the city to resolve each party’s concerns.

“We want to see this work,” Gibbons said.

Belfast Code Enforcement Officer Tod Rosenberg said the driveway would be located within a 26-foot wide easement, which would actually push it further away from Morrow’s property line. In addition, three culverts would be installed, with one culvert located in the ditch near the parking area, one at about the midpoint of the driveway and the final culvert located parallel to the road at the end of the driveway. Rosenberg said the property owner would be responsible for the culverts.

An existing street tree also needs to be removed before the driveway can be installed. Rosenberg said he spoke with the city’s tree warden, who said the tree is no longer viable because of exposure to road salt.

By agreeing to the terms of the consent agreement, the city forgives all of the zoning violations.

Councilors unanimously approved the consent agreement.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.