Lincoln residents sidestep civil suits

Posted Aug. 11, 2010, at 7:07 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:29 a.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — A resident of Collins Point Road off Upper Coldstream Pond will plant seven trees to offset two illegally removed from the buffer zone of his shoreline property, town officials said.

The deal the resident made with town Code Enforcement Officer Jerry Davis came after the violation occurred last month, Davis said. The agreement conforms with state codes that use tree trunk width to determine how many new plantings are required to offset the environmental impact of the tree removal.

“The gentleman had to move his camp back off the shoreline and had to cut down the two trees to do it,” Davis said Tuesday.

He declined to identify the resident.

As code enforcement officer, Davis is charged with inspecting the town’s 14 lakes and ponds, plus the Penobscot River and tributaries, enforcing among other things state regulations that protect berms surrounding water bodies, as they are the final lines of defense against pollution carried by runoff.

Davis also searches for violations including erosion, overcutting of trees and shrubs, new buildings or septic systems built without permits and water pollution.

He said he tries whenever possible to avoid taking residents to civil court. A McGregor Road resident who cut at least eight trees from her Upper Cold Stream Pond property last year has agreed to replant more trees and shrubs, thereby avoiding potential court action, he said.

The resident had planted only about a quarter of the trees and shrubs required under Department of Environmental Protection rules per the agreement she and Davis set last year, forcing him to threaten court action last month, he said.

“It’s taken longer than I would have liked, but the end result is good,” he said.

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

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