ROCKLAND, Maine — A candidate for the Rockland City Council and his wife have filed an appeal of the consent order they signed with the city earlier this year agreeing to take down a structure where they store flea market items.
Harold Dale Hayward Jr. and Geraldine Hayward filed the appeal Monday in Rockland District Court.
In their appeal, the Haywards claim the consent order was coerced. They also maintain that the entire action is in retaliation for his comments before the Rockland City Council, the Haywards stated in their written appeal. They did not specify what was said to the Council or when.
The Haywards also claim their attorney did not properly represent them.
“The defense attorney failed to properly protect the rights of the defendants and oppose improprieties of the city of Rockland through its city attorney while advising clients to take ‘the best deal available’ to the opposition of the defendants, full well aware of the consequences,” the appeal states. “The signed order was the product of coerced advice and behavior of both [the] defense and city attorney.”
The Haywards ask the court for an opportunity to “correct this miscarriage of justice.”
The city filed a land-use complaint against the Haywards in April, claiming they were illegally storing flea market items in a fabric-covered structure on their North Main Street property. The city also maintained the Haywards did not receive a permit for the structure.
The Haywards had agreed to remove the structure by Sept. 30 and to reimburse the city $181 for its costs in filing the complaint in Rockland District Court.
City Attorney Kevin Beal said the Haywards have yet to reimburse the city.
The consent order stated that half the money should be paid by June 30 and the remainder by July 31.
The structure remained on the property as of Monday afternoon.
The fabric structure was erected before June 30, 2010, without a permit, according to the city’s code office. The city also maintains that the storage of wholesale items that later will be sold at flea markets is not an allowed use in the residential zone where the Haywards live.
The Haywards state in the appeal that the city has conducted selective enforcement.
“The city of Rockland, through its code enforcement officer has ignored over 60 code violations in the city of Rockland, dating back as far as 16 years,” the Haywards claim.
They argue that there are inappropriate businesses in residential zones without proper permits or zone changes.
“This is direct proof of the code enforcement officer choosing to apply selective enforcement which is illegal,” the suit states.
The couple also maintain that there is no ordinance prohibiting people from storing yard sale items.
Beal said Tuesday that the appeal is untimely because the appeal period has passed and is filed at the wrong court. He said such an appeal needs to be made to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
He said the city will file a response to the appeal.