Planning Board approval of fireworks store has been appealed

Board says appeal was filed late, mulls extension
By Dan West | Jul 29, 2014

Searsport — The decision on whether to accept an appeal of a Searsport Planning Board decision granting approval to construct a fireworks store on Route 1 has been continued until Aug. 14.

The Searsport Zoning Board of Appeals met July 24 to decide whether the appeal was made within 30-days after the Planning Board decision, as is required under town ordinance. The appeals board could also grant a "good-faith" extension to that time limit if it found the appeal was not filed in time.

Zoning Board of Appeal chair Percy King laid out the chronology of events regarding the appeal at the meeting. King said the Planning Board decision was made June 2 and the first letter declaring an intent to appeal that decision was received June 20 filed by George and Helen Kimmerly, within the 30 days; however, the original letter did not include the reason for the appeal, as required in the ordinance. On July 3 the Kimmerly's were granted a 10 day extension to provide the reasoning behind their appeal, after which King said he spoke the the Kimmerly's attorney on July 10 asking him to complete the appeal by submitting the required material. On July 15, after the end of the 10-day extension, the final materials alleging a mistake was made by the Planning Board in granting the appeal was received.

"In my opinion it was filed late," King said.

Helen Kimmerly and members of the audience argued that the initial letter of appeal was filed on time and should allow the appeal to go forward, while the attorney for Robert and Hiedi Gordon, who plan to open the fireworks store in townt, argued that the initial letter was not a complete appeal, which is supposed to be filed within 30 days.

Helen Kimmerly also said Town Manager James Gillway had assured the Kimmerly's the appeal was acceptable. They suggested waiting for a time when Gillway could attend the meeting to explain why he said their appeal was made on time.

The appeals board voted unanimously that the appeal was not made on time, but then decided to continue the meeting and postpone any decisions until Aug. 14 due to the advertised agenda stating that "no discussion or work on the pending appeal" would be held at the June 24 meeting.

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