FARMINGTON — A resident is appealing the decision by the town’s planning board that approved a condominium project on Main Street, claiming it violated town zoning and building ordinances.

The challenge seeks to overturn board members’ unanimous vote in August to approve building the condominiums behind the existing building at 223 Main St., which houses apartments and office space.

Christie James, who lives next to the property, filed the appeal that goes before the town’s board of appeals at a hearing in the town office 6 p.m. Tuesday.

She had been the most outspoken member of a small group of residents who had opposed the project, which is yet to get under way. The approval came after a series of lengthy planning board meetings about legal questions raised by James, who hired an engineer and attorney to review the project.

David Sanders, her attorney, said Wednesday that James filed the appeal because the project violates town zoning and building ordinances. Some of biggest problems stem from the size of the property being insufficient for the project, he said.

“The issue is whether on an undersized lot you get to build a brand new building,” he said.

“To the issue that Christie James doesn’t want (the project) in her backyard, I would submit that nobody would want that in their backyard,” Sanders said.

James also runs Western Maine Osteopathic Healthcare out of her home next to the planned condo site. She did not return messages seeking comment about the appeal.

Bill Marceau, the condominium project property owner, filed a response Tuesday to the claims made in the appeal, according to Brian Rayback, his attorney.

The response supports the planning board’s exhaustive review of the project and concerns raised during the approval process, Rayback said.

“We think they made the right decision in regards to the laws and the zoning ordinances,” Rayback said.

Marceau plans to build a six-unit building for residents age 55 and older at an overall cost of about $700,000. The one- and two-bedroom units will sell for $150,000 to $185,000.

He owns Foothills Management Company, which has a number of rental properties in Farmington, and is a partner in another proposed elderly housing project, Willow Springs, on Fairbanks Road.

Marceau, who is a member of the planning board, recused himself from discussions about the project. He did not return a message seeking comment about the appeal.

The legal issues tied to the project addressed everything from driveways and parking lots to public safety and new construction on properties that don’t meet certain town regulations.

Planning board members ruled that the existing lot and building at 223 Main St. can break certain town regulations because they are grandfathered — in other words, the land was developed before ordinances were written. Many of the legal decisions made by the board were based on that issue.

Clayton King, chairman of the planning board, said Wednesday that he is confident the project approval will be upheld by the board of appeals.

The board’s unanimous vote came after an in-depth review of the legal issues and concerns raised by residents, he said.

“We gave this project all of its due diligence,” he said.

The appeal process will review the claims and make a decision on whether to challenge the project approval. If the appeals board finds something it wants to challenge, it would send the project back to the planning board with specific complaints, according to Sanders.

The planning board can choose to stand by its initial decision, even if the appeals board requests changes be made, and a second appeal would be filed, he said.

A town’s decision on an appeal can be challenged in court after the entire process is completed, he said.

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]

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