Lincolnville taking repeat land use violator to court

Posted Jan. 03, 2013, at 5:49 p.m.

LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — Town officials will be taking legal action in the case of a Levenseller Pond landowner who has had a long history of land use violations in Lincolnville.

Richard Rosenberg was ordered to stop work on a pier and barge on his waterfront property this summer by the town’s code enforcement officer, according to David Kinney, Lincolnville administrator.

“He did not stop the work,” Kinney said Thursday.

That violation came on the heels of another problem the town has with Rosenberg, who could not be reached by phone Thursday for comment. Kinney said that the landowner previously had cleared trees and installed impervious material on his property that was against the community’s land use regulations. The town’s code enforcement officer appealed that action, which ultimately was decided in Lincolnville’s favor in September 2011 at Waldo County District Court.

The judge ordered Rosenberg to pay the town just over $23,000 in remediation, according to the administrator.

“He has not done the remediation work, nor has he paid us the money,” Kinney said.

The town will seek to have Rosenberg pay the money he was ordered to pay, to do the remediation work he was ordered to do and to stop working on his pier and barge.

“We’re all about voluntary compliance,” Kinney said. “The ordinances were adopted by the townspeople. We are here to help people accomplish their goals within the ordinances that they’ve adopted.”

Rosenberg has had a prior land use dispute with Lincolnville that went on for years, stemming from alterations of his Levenseller Pond property back in 2002, according to a previously published article in the BDN. In 2008, Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm found that the homeowner had improperly placed a fuel oil tank on the side of his residence that extended into the shoreland zone. The judge also found that Rosenberg had undertaken interior and exterior renovations without obtaining proper building permits. He was ordered to correct the violations and pay the town’s attorney fees.

Rosey Gerry of the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen said Thursday that private-property disputes can be sensitive.

“I always would like to uphold and do what I can for people’s rights, but unfortunately the town of Lincolnville has rules that are set in place. We need to go by those rules,” he said. “If he’s in violation, he’s in violation.”

He said that the town has seen some big changes in the last decade or so having to do with attitudes about land usage.

“Ten or 15 years ago, building was moving at a rapid rate,” Gerry said. “I think we had some really, really extremely strict rules … my personal opinion in that the rules are a little bit rugged, and we have a good land use committee now. We’re working on making some changes. Nobody’s bending any rules. We’re just making it so it’s a little easier to work in Lincolnville.”

Gerry said that if landowners are willing to “play ball,” town officials are willing to work with them.

“There are people who just have to always test the water and see how deep it is,” he said.

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