APPLETON, Maine — The owner of a house that was built in violation of the town’s land-use laws has offered to pay a $2,500 fine rather than tear down or move the building.
Appleton Code Enforcement Officer C. Toupie Rooney said Wednesday she received a response Tuesday from Jacob Boyington of Appleton Ridge LLC.
The offer calls for him to enter into a consent agreement with the town to settle the legal dispute that dates back to 2009. In addition to the fine, Boyington has agreed to plant a row of trees between his property and neighbors Paul and Rita Gagnon and to plant shrubs in front of the house.
In exchange, Boyington said he would not seek monetary damages from the town for rescinding his building permit.
“Mr. Boyington is looking forward to working with the town to resolve this matter in a manner that is agreeable to all concerned,” his attorney Christopher MacLean of Camden said Wednesday.
Rooney said the proposal has been forwarded to the town’s attorney and she expects it to be considered at the board of selectmen’s meeting on Jan. 20.
Boyington purchased the 0.18 acre lot from the town in 2009 and built the 24-by-32-foot home in 2010 while neighbors were still legally challenging the validity of a building permit issued by the town. The house — assessed by the town at $93,560 — was built only 15 feet from the road right of way while the municipal ordinance requires buildings to be a minimum of 25 feet from the right of way. The neighbors argued that Boyington was able to get a permit, in part, when he presented an inaccurate description of the land to the town.
The town rescinded the building permit after being ordered to in May 2014 by Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm. During the court process, Hjelm first ruled that a former code enforcement officer had erred in granting Boyington the building permit. He later ruled that the town’s zoning board of appeals also erred in granting a zoning variance to Appleton Ridge Construction and its owner, Boyington.
Rooney said last year after the court rulings that the only way the homeowner could comply was by moving or tearing down the house.
Neighbor Paul Gagnon, who along with his wife Rita and neighbors Lorie and Patrick Costigan challenged the building permit in court, said Wednesday that he had not been made aware of Boyington’s proposal. He said he would withhold comment until he could speak to his attorney.