Homeowner tears out deck to avoid fines

Posted April 21, 2010, at 9:52 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:02 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — A resident along Upper Cold Stream Pond has torn down a deck with hot tub to comply with shoreline regulations and avoid civil court action, Code Enforcement Officer Jerry Davis said Wednesday.

“The deck issue came about because the deck was built too close to the water,” Davis said.

State regulations require that homes be at least 75 feet from a shoreline. Because it was built before the 75-foot requirement’s enactment, the home already is closer to the shoreline, Davis said.

State law allows for an expansion of 30 percent of a building’s total size, but the home already has been expanded that much, Davis said.

He declined to identify the resident.

A McGregor Road resident who cut at least eight trees from her Upper Cold Stream Pond property — a violation of Maine Department of Environmental Protection regulations — might also face civil court action for not planting enough replacement trees, Davis said.

The McGregor Road resident has planted only about a quarter of the trees and shrubs required under DEP rules per the agreement she and Davis set last year, he said.

“If this isn’t corrected, we will probably go to court,” Davis said.

As code enforcement officer, Davis is charged with inspecting the town’s 14 lakes and ponds, plus the Penobscot River and tributaries. He does inspections twice a year.

Among other things, Davis searches for violations including erosion, overcutting of trees and shrubs, gravel set too close to shorelines within the state-required setbacks, new buildings or septic systems built without permits, and water pollution.

He also works with Maine Department of Environmental Protection officials, town homeowner associations and residents to maintain water quality.

Previous inspections revealed a sunken boat, illegal septic systems, gravel dumped within 75 feet of the shoreline and the overcutting of shoreline trees.

Under state law, violators have 15 days to correct or provide a plan for correcting violations or they could face civil court action and daily fines ranging from $100 to $2,500.

Davis encourages residents to call 794-3372 if they have questions about potential violations or work they want to do on their properties.

He also will work with residents to correct violations rather than seeking fines or taking other punitive measures, he said.

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