BELFAST — Property owners Jeffrey Mabee and Judith Grace, along with local nonprofit Friends of Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area, filed several motions Nov. 12 asking Justice Robert Murray to amend his decision to find in favor of Mabee and Grace regarding who owns the intertidal area where Nordic Aquafarms wants to lay pipes for a proposed land-based fish farm.

On Oct. 28, Murray found that the intertidal area was not severed from its upland property in historic deeds, effectively deciding the previous owners of the upland lot in front of the intertidal area, Janet and Richard Eckrote, had owned the intertidal zone. That upland parcel is now owned by the city of Belfast, which means that the city owns the intertidal land.

Mabee and Grace claimed historic deeds showed they owned the intertidal area in front of several neighboring upland lots to the north of theirs and brought the suit against the Eckrotes after they entered into an easement with Nordic to let the company bury its pipes in the intertidal area in front of the Eckrotes’ upland lot.

Nordic bought the land from the Eckrotes this past summer and gave it to the city with the stipulation that the city grant the company an easement over the upland lot and intertidal zone to place its intake and outflow pipes, along with other privileges to the land.

In August, before it was clear when Murray might reach a decision in the case, city councilors took the intertidal area by eminent domain to be used as a public park with the upland property it acquired from Nordic, along with other rational. Nordic opponents filed a lawsuit claiming the action was to benefit the private company. Murray’s ownership ruling will probably have an impact on that lawsuit.

The judge ruled in favor of the Eckrotes because he found that the phrase “along high water mark” used in a historic deed to the property was not a phrase of exclusion, but rather a call for the intertidal land to be conveyed with the Eckrotes’ lot. He also found wording in the historic deed in question to be ambiguous. His decision noted that ambiguities in deeds must be resolved in favor of the grantee.

Now, Mabee and Grace and the Friends are asking the judge to reconsider several findings of fact that would show Mabee and Grace own the intertidal area. Some of these findings include his determination that there were ambiguities in the historic deed to the Eckrotes’ lot and that the phrase “along high water mark” was used to sever the intertidal land from the upland in that historic deed.

Their attorney, Kim Ervin Tucker, said there are contradictions in the judge’s order. “When looking at the order, there are giant leaps of logic in it and contradictory statements in the court’s order,” she said.

City attorney Kristin Collins said her team is still reviewing the documents and declined to comment at this time.

Nordic representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Phase two of the case, where plaintiffs and defendants’ other claims will be considered, will take place later.

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