Vassalboro board of appeals gives farm stand go ahead


by Mary Grow

Vassalboro Board of Appeals members unanimously granted Parker Denico the variance from shoreland requirements that should let him open a farm stand in North Vassalboro.

Raymond Breton’s lot on which Denico has permission to put the stand does not extend far enough east from Outlet Stream to let Denico set the temporary building the required 100 feet from the water. He estimates it will be about 50 feet from the stream. He therefore needed a variance from the setback requirement.

Codes Officer Richard Dolby told the three board of appeals members at the May 15 meeting they are required by the town’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance to find that failure to grant the variance would create an undue hardship. There are four criteria by which “undue hardship” is measured, he said:

  • The “land in question cannot yield a reasonable return” without a variance.
  • The variance is needed “due to the unique circumstances of the property and not to the general conditions in the neighborhood.”
  • Granting the variance “will not alter the essential character of the locality.”
  • The “hardship is not the result of action taken by the applicant or a prior owner.” The ordinance gives the board of appeals the right to impose conditions on any variance granted. Board members added two conditions:
  • The only building allowed will be the planned seasonal farm stand, to operate between June 1 and Oct. 31.
  • The variance will be reviewed after one year.

Dolby was not sure that a temporary, reviewable variance would be accepted by state regulators who oversee variances granted by local boards.

Denico’s next step is to return to the planning board to get his shoreland permit. Since the next regular planning board meeting is not until June 5, a special meeting might be scheduled late in May.


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