CHINA — A proposed gift shop on Lakeview Drive remains in limbo.

Planners decided Monday to send the codes officer back to the Maine Municipal Association to ask about a second issue with Rose Bouchard’s application, after he already got legal advice on the first one.

Bouchard wants to lease the former Perkins real estate office on Lakeview Drive to open a gift shop. The building has been vacant since 2006, said Code Enforcement Officer Scott Pierz.

China’s ordinance says a nonconforming building can’t be reused if its use has been discontinued for more than two years. The ordinance also says if there are two uses on a shoreland lot, the lot size and shore frontage need to be double the requirements for a single use.

An occupied house sits on the shore of China Lake behind the former office, so there is already a residential use of the property, and the lot size and frontage are not adequate for a second use.

Landowner Nancy Perkins has consistently advertised the former office for sale or lease. In 1999, the Planning Board found her action meant the use was not discontinued. The building was reoccupied as an office until 2006.


Current board Chairman Ronald Breton thinks the 1999 decision was an error.

“I know you don’t want to hear this,” he said to Bouchard.

Pierz reported that municipal association attorney Rebecca Seel said if the current board had a legal affidavit saying Perkins never intended to discontinue use of the building, that hurdle might be overcome.

Neither planners nor Pierz could see a way around the lot-size and shore-frontage requirements, however.

Pierz said he would consult Seel again, but that he is not optimistic about getting an opinion favorable to letting Bouchard open shop. If the application has to be denied, board members recommended immediately advising Nancy Perkins and her son, Gregg, to stop trying to rent the building. It could remain where it is as a garage or storage building, technically an auxiliary use to the residence, Pierz said.

The application will be back on the Planning Board agenda after Pierz hears from Seel.


The second and simpler application on Monday’s agenda was from Joseph Sears, who got a permit last summer for hay rides on his Dirigo Road property in September and October but did not open the proposed business.

China’s ordinance says a permit lapses if nothing is done within a year.

Planners gave Sears an extension through April 2012, to cover September and October of this year, and authorized expanded hours. Sears said part of the proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

In other business, board members agreed on recommended revised fees for Planning Board and code enforcement services. Their recommendations will go to China selectmen, who set fees.

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