Board dismisses appeal of fireworks store application

By Dan West | Aug 26, 2014

Searsport — The Searsport Zoning Board of Appeals dismissed an appeal of a planning board decision granting approval to construct a fireworks store on Route 1.

The appeals board met Aug. 21 and voted unanimously that a complete appeal was not made within 30 days after the June 2 planning board decision, as is required under town ordinance. The appeals board also decided not to grant a "good-faith" extension of that time limit.

George and Helen Kimmerly, the abutters to the proposed fireworks store who filed the appeal, were represented by attorney Cindy Allen. Allen argued that the appeal was filed within the 30 days, and that the original letter of appeal, submitted June 20, was complete as it stated the reason for the appeal was to correct an error in the planning board's judgment regarding the land use ordinance.

Ed Bearor, an attorney representing Robert and Heidi Gordon, who were granted planning board approval of their fireworks store application, argued that the initial letter did not include detailed reasoning for the appeal. That information was not submitted until July 15.

"The fact that they can't read doesn't matter," Bearor said. "It's pretty simple really, the appeal needed to be filed and it needed to be complete."

The appeals board agreed that the initial letter did not include enough detail and was not completed until after the 30-day deadline.

Allen argued the Kimmerlys should be granted a good faith extension because Appeal Board Chair Percy King gave the attorney who was submitting the appeal materials a verbal extension on July 10. King said that he did not recall giving any extension.

The board voted against granting the extension. None of the board members voted in favor of an extension, but Bob Ramsdell abstained because he found the chronology of events too confusing to base a vote on.

Allen told the board that the Kimmerlys were likely to appeal its decision.

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