WINTHROP — A Winthrop couple who went to court once to gain access to their property are back there again, this time suing the town.

Joseph and Sharon Presti want to be able to get to a lot off Lakeshore Drive that lacks road access.

Their attorney, Christopher E. Pazar of Drummond & Drummond, said the couple plan to build a single-family retirement home for themselves on the property.

But, so far, the Prestis can’t even drive there.

The Winthrop Planning Board at a hearing last month rejected the Prestis’ attempt to amend the 1985 Lakeshore Drive subdivision plan to reflect a court-approved easement.

The board said the Presti application failed to meet town and state subdivision standards and would result in unreasonable or unsafe road congestion, adversely affect the aesthetics of the area and harm the public.

The appeal of the Planning Board decision will be heard by a single justice in Kennebec County Superior Court. Pazar said the Prestis maintain they should not have had to go to the Planning Board, but assuming they did, the board used the wrong criteria in making the decision.

Town Manager Jeffrey Woolston said this week that the town had yet to receive notice of the court appeal.

The Prestis’ efforts to gain access to the land began more than a half-dozen years ago, and are documented in the court filings and other public records.

On Feb. 9, 2004, the Prestis bought five lots off Route 41 near Maranacook Lake from Natalie Caragansis that had once been part of an 80-acre parcel owned by Lillian Richards. Pazar said a title defect separated the lots with road frontage from the back lot. He said the lack of access was not created by the sale of any lots by the Prestis.

In order to get there, the Prestis tried to negotiate an easement with abutters. When that failed, they sued several of them in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Justice Nancy Mills approved a Nov. 2, 2010, agreement settling that case that gave the Prestis a 15-foot easement to land identified as Parcel 4 for pedestrian and vehicle access from a cul-de-sac on Lakeshore Drive over property belonging to Jerry Lauzon and Johanna Ward.

“The grant from Lillian Richards to Natalie H. and Nicholas L. Caragansis was silent as to access,” the agreement says.

“Without an easement from Route 41 to Parcel 4 across Lillian Richards’ remaining land, Parcel 4 would not have legal access to a public way.”

Once the original court case settled, the Prestis went to the town and were told that because the driveway is on a subdivision property, they needed to propose the Planning Board amend the subdivision plan, Pazar said.

“We wanted the plan to reflect the 1961 easement,” Pazar said. “We’re not trying to create another development. It’s a shame it has to go to this extent.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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