FREEPORT — The non-profit owner of a landlocked 113-foot schooner has been ordered to pay the town more than $36,000 for attorney fees and costs associated with litigation that dates back to 2014.

The Island Rover Foundation, meanwhile, has filed a motion for further finding of facts. The town has not yet submitted its opposition to that motion, but has a week left to do so.

The town sued the foundation for allegedly violating a 2014 consent agreement that required the ship, Island Rover, to be moved from the town’s medium density residential zone, where Harold Arndt began building it more than 20 years ago. Construction was allowed until Arndt put the project under the auspices of the nonprofit foundation in 2005.

Last August, the vessel was moved about 30 yards from Lower Flying Point Road to private Bucknam Road, adjacent to the original property. Both spots are in the same residential zone. After being unable to obtain permits required for launch, the 113-foot schooner remains landlocked on Bucknam Road. A court order has allowed the town to impose a $500-a-day fine until the vessel was moved to a location that conforms with local zoning laws.

On July 3, Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren ordered the foundation to pay the town more than $36,000.

Carter Becker, partial owner of the Island Rover, will not be subject to the fines because he was not named in the Sept. 2, 2014, order and has not been found in contempt.

“In the court’s view, it is unrealistic to assume that Becker and the Island Rover Foundation have the ability to resolve these issues and launch the vessel,” the order states.

On July 11, Town Attorney Wendy Paradis filed a motion in Cumberland County Superior Court seeking compensatory fines for expenses incurred if the town seeks and obtains possession of the vessel in lieu of a “coercive fine of $500 per day.”

Later that day, Warren ruled in a written motion that coercive fines would not be imposed at this time and the town has until July 24 to respond to the foundation’s motion for further findings of fact.

The council denied an over-limit moving permit to launch the boat last November at the end of Shore Road, which is a private drive. The council asked the foundation to reapply for a permit once additional information was gathered, including an agreement with property owners on Shore Road, to allow the vessel to cross en route to the launch site.

“The Town is not responsible for the opposition of landowners at the proposed launch site,” the July court order states. “If those landowners do not have a legal basis to oppose Becker’s proposed launching plan, (he) can seek legal recourse; it is significant that he has not done so.”

Further, the order states that if moving the vessel to a conforming location cannot be accomplished by launching it, “it can be met by disassembling the hull and disposing it as a scrap or reassembling it.”

The court found that, despite being given several extensions, the foundation had not moved the vessel and therefore, “there is no further reason to delay the imposition of contempt sanctions.”

The July 3 order also states that the town can seek compensatory fines for expenses incurred if it seeks and obtains an order allowing it to take possession of the vessel in order to move or dismantle it.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

Read this story in The Forecaster.

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