by Mary Grow
At a March 22 meeting, the China Board of Appeals refused to reconsider its Feb. 15 refusal to hear two appeals of codes officer’s decisions filed by Bio Renewable Fuels (BRF).
The case began in August 2017, when Codes Officer Paul Mitnik notified BRF owner Ralph Howe that he needed a planning board permit to continue his Dirigo Road operation. In September 2017, Mitnik sent the company a notice of violation.
Howe appealed both documents. At the Feb. 15 hearing, board of appeals members unanimously rejected both appeals on procedural grounds, without going into the merits of the issue.
The rest of the board agreed with Chairman Spencer Aitel that the appeal of the August letter was not filed within the required 30 days, and that the appeal of the notice of violation incorrectly listed the property-owner as BFR, when in fact the company leases its land from Ralph Howe’s wife Linda.
Attorney Kristin Collins, of Preti Flaherty, in Augusta, disagreed with both reasons and objected to the board’s not giving the Howes a chance to rebut them. She therefore asked the board to reconsider its Feb. 15 decisions.
Aitel arrived at the conclusion that the appeal was filed late by counting days on a calendar. Collins referenced state Rules of Civil Procedure that say that the day of an action does not count as the first day, and if the final day of a time period is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the next day should be counted as the final day. By those rules, she said, the appeal was filed within 30 days. On the second point, Collins said BFR was the entity to which Mitnik’s documents were addressed, and since the company has a 99-year lease on the land it is the owner for relevant purposes. She added that nothing in town ordinances allows dismissal of an appeal because of an error on the form; in fact, she said, the town does not even require a form, as long as an appeal is in writing, nor does it require the property-owner to submit the appeal.
Board of Appeals members approved motions not to reconsider each previous action by identical 4-1-1 votes, with Robert Fischer, Lisa Kane, Anthony Pileggi and Dale Worster in the majority, Michael Gee opposed and Aitel abstaining.
Aitel told the Howes they may appeal the board’s decisions to Superior Court.
Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!
If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?
The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.
To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!
- China projects to keep town crews busy
- China budget committee approves three spending measures to be on Nov. 6 ballot
- Three arrested in China car burglaries
- TIF committee continues discussion on purchase of Bailey property
- Three selectmen attend workshop with town manager
- Getting to know the China town manager
- New causeway bridge gets all local permits
- Selectmen set tax rate at 15.8 mils, down by 0.1 mils
- Report from the transfer station
- Planners approve town’s first medical marijuana storefront