The disputed boundary between York and Kittery will remain in place, at least for now.
That comes as a York County Superior Court judge decided not to settle whether the town of York’s border extends about 300 feet into neighboring Kittery.
Justice Wayne Douglas ruled last week that York had not met the requirements to sue Kittery over the disputed stretch of border and dismissed the lawsuit, though the door was left open for further legal action, according to the Portland Press Herald.
The York Select Board will meet next month to decide its next steps, the Press Herald reported.
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The dispute between the two towns centers around whether the boundary around Route 1 runs straight or meanders. The boundary was first drawn in 1653 by a Massachusetts militia, which ran straight. Both towns conducted surveys in the 1790s that drew conflicting borders in the disputed area. York’s ran straight, while Kittery’s meandered.
But it wasn’t until four years ago that the question moved into the 21st century. A developer bought property on Route 1 that he believed was evenly split across the towns, but he later found three quarters of it sat in York. The border question has prolonged the permitting process.
That’s not the only property that could be affected by redrawing the border. Kittery contends 25 homes could suddenly find themselves in a foreign town if York’s border is moved to the south.
The dispute escalated in January 2020, when the York Select Board ordered the town manager to take “any and all actions necessary” to contest the disputed border region. The town filed a lawsuit in February 2022 asking a judge to settle the matter.
Kittery Town Manager Kendra Amaral applauded the court’s decision, telling the Press Herald she is “confident” her town’s border will remain intact.
York has previously settled border disputes with Eliot and Ogunquit.