BELGRADE — Shawn Grant stood in his garage Monday next to a Chris Craft so vintage it sports two cream-colored wings running along port and starboard. It was in the shop for some work.

Outside in the yard, a newly repaired and sparkling Chris Craft awaited owner pickup near a wooden dory resting keel up.

Grant runs Brightside Marina on scenic Great Pond Outlet Stream off Hulin Road in the village, and his application for a commercial business permit — recently denied by the Planning Board — is the subject of a hearing 7 p.m. Wednesday by the town’s Board of Appeals. The permit denial also led the town to issue an order for him to cease operating the commercial part of the marina.

The marina operation itself also has caused some controversy, with neighbors, summer residents and customers weighing in and those letters are included in the file at the Belgrade Town Office.

Several from 2017 reference anonymous complaints about the Grant’s business and others comment on traffic on the stream and on Hulin Road.

“It disappoints us that anonymous complaints would even be considered — a cowardly stance at best,” wrote Grace Parks Mitchell, who stores boats at Brightside Marina.

Paul Mitchell of Dry Point Drive wrote that he has “spent 48 years enjoying Belgrade Lakes” and that “it has come to my attention that there is a local movement against entrepreneur Shawn Grant. I understand this has been encouraged by a flurry of anonymous letters. Surely you would agree there is no credibility to such cowardly attacks.”

Pamela Beckwith wrote, “I have lived on Hulin Road for over 25 years, and I have never had a problem with anyone blocking the road. I travel this road several times a day.”

Missy Donhue said, “I travel on Hulin Road a few times a day to get to and from my house and the road has never been blocked.”

Classic wooden boats lead the boat parade on July 4 on Mill Stream in Belgrade after earlier starting on Great Pond and downstream into Belgrade Lakes village. Staff file photo by Joe Phelan

Margaret and Christopher Bradley of Echo Cove Road, wrote that “the Brightside docks are attractive and non-intrusive. They are in the widest part of the stream and do not impede, at all, our coming and going. The only impediments we notice in the stream are the periodic impatient boaters and huge boats that may be too large for the venue.”

In contrast, Jeffrey and Caragh Spring wrote in June, “As 20-year summer home owners in Belgrade Lakes on Hulin Road, this business is greatly diminishing the ability to safely navigate boats in the channel . . . The impact of this congestion in the water way and vehicle traffic on Hulin Road, certainly changes the long history of quiet access in and out of the Belgrade Lakes Downtown and Great Pond.”

Jane and David Rohrbach of Echo Cove Road wrote in opposition to the permit as well, saying, “We are concerned about increased boat traffic on the stream, which destroys the natural beauty and quietness of the area.”

Jon Hoppman, who owns two camps and more than 1,000 feet of shoreline on Echo Cove on Great Pond, wrote, “We feel that a new marina on the stream would not only be an eyesore but also cause too much boat traffic and would not be safe.”

On April 5 the Planning Board denied Grant a permit for seasonal dock and boat rentals in connection with Brightside Wooden Boat Services Inc., saying, “It does not meet the standards of the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.”

Grant, through Andrew Dunbar of Thayer Engineering, filed an administrative appeal of that decision, saying, “The denial of the permit was based on a misinterpretation of the ordinance.”

Dunbar noted that the Commercial Development Review Ordinance Permit Application had “favorable findings of fact” on all the other review criteria.

He also said the property consists of three parcels with one year-round residence and that the total area of 25,000 square feet is considered a “nonconforming (grand-fathered) structure, as are all the lots on Great Pond Stream along Main Street.”

Dunbar said the permit is being sought to provide accessibility to docks installed below the normal high water mark” and that activities include “temporary parking, loading and unloading by hand of personal items and foot passages to the high water mark and the off-shore docks.”

Grant has operated the business and marina since 2008 under a home occupation business permit, and was told last year he needed a commercial permit, he said on Monday. So he applied for one, was denied, and is now appealing.

At work on a sunny, warm Monday afternoon, he was barefoot, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, and speaking with a customer about completing some boat repairs next week.

“Wooden boats are our passion,” he said, but he works on other boats as well. “You’ve got to pay the bills.”

Shawn Grant in the boatyard on Monday at Brightside Marina, the business he owns in Belgrade Lakes Village. Grant is appealing the denial of a commercial business permit for the boat repair and slip company he has operated on Hulin Road for 10 years. Staff photo by Andy Molloy

He said he located the business there because of the shore access to test boats. “All of this property is why this business is here,” he said, waving his hand around. From the shore where the docks are laid out, spectators can view the other properties fronting the stream, including the outdoor seating area of the Village Inn and Tavern.

Grant said there were no problems with his business operation until last year.

He also said he has offered a compromise solution, promising to eliminate a small residence on the streamside of Hulin Road and using it instead for storage.

After the Planning Board’s denial, the town’s attorney, Michael Hodgkin, notified Grant of an “ongoing violation of the Belgrade Land Use Ordinance.” In the letter, Hodgkin wrote that the “operation of a marina as a proposed accessory use to this property is not currently permitted, and your past operation of the marina without required permits was also in violation of the Belgrade ordinances.” Hodgkin ordered Grant to “immediately cease the commercial operation of the Brightside Marina.”

Hodgkin wrote that ordinance violations carry minimum fines of $100 for each day of violation and that a court could impose civil penalties if Grant is “deriving economic benefit from the commercial use of this marina.”

Prior to the submission of the commercial permit application, Grant’s attorney, Elizabeth A. Boepple, wrote to Belgrade Code Enforcement Officer Gray Fuller, saying that Grant “respectfully declines to submit an application” for a change of use permit to lease dock slips as part of his business.

She cited the 2008 permit for a “home occupation for boat repairs,” and added, “A natural ancillary use of this business is the rental of dock slips for the short- and long-term storage of boats.”

She also wrote because Grant had been operating for almost 10 years, the town was barred from now requiring a permit.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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