BELGRADE — Appeals and Brightside Marina will continue to go hand-in-hand.

Marina owner Shawn Grant already is planning a court appeal of a Belgrade Appeals Board decision last week to deny permits for its existing site on Great Pond Outlet Stream, off Hulin Road in Belgrade Lakes village. The Appeals Board voted 7-0 to deny Grant a shoreland zoning permit, as well as a business permit under the Commercial Development Review Ordinance.

Grant has been operating his marina, which includes a seasonal dock and a boat rental business, for a decade or so under a home occupancy business permit. He specializes in wooden boat repairs, but he says he works on all kinds.

The Appeals Board denial says the application met all the criteria for a change except for the 60,000-square-foot minimum lot size for each principal commercial use and a 300-foot minimum of uninterrupted shore frontage.

“The property at 24 Hulin Road does not meet the minimum lot standards for commercial use because it has 25,000 square feet of area and 200 feet +/- of shore frontage,” the Board wrote in its denial.

Grant went to the Appeals Board after the Planning Board issued a similar denial in April.

At the Aug. 22 hearing, Grant and his attorney, Edmond Bearor, both indicated that a decision denying the permit would be appealed.

On Thursday, Michael Hodgins, attorney for the Appeals Board, said he had prepared a draft decision in advance of the Aug. 22 hearing at the board’s request, based on the deliberations and discussions at the July 18 board hearing, at which they did not vote formally.

While the Appeals Board vote was recorded after board deliberations on Aug. 22, the formal decision and findings of fact were signed on Monday.

A number of permanent and seasonal residents — as well as customers and neighbors of Brightside Marina — have weighed in on both sides of the debate.

Rob Gardner, the owner of Great Pond Marina at 25 Marina Drive on Great Pond, indicated in one letter to the Planning Board that while Brightside Marina was permitted as a home occupation, “Brightside over the recent years has expanded from a small wooden boat restoration business to a general boat repair, brokerage, winterizing and shink-wrapping, storage, boat rentals, slips and mooring rentals, and engine sales, and constructed a boat launch area, all within 250 feet from shoreline.”

Prior to the submission of the commercial permit application, Grant’s previous 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.” Boepple also wrote that because Grant had been operating for almost 10 years, the town was barred from now requiring a permit.

“We had no anticipation we were going to get approved by the Appeals Board,” Grant said Tuesday.

He and Bearor have 45 days to file the appeal in superior court.

“We will use that time,” Grant said.

“We’re trying to weigh all the options he has at this juncture,” Bearor said.

He said the appeal, which will be filed in Kennebec County, will include the record of the Appeals Board’s actions and indicate that there was an error of law interpreting the town’s ordinances.

In the meantime, Grant continues to run his marina.

After the Planning Board’s denial, Hodgins, who is also the town’s attorney, notified Grant of an “ongoing violation of the Belgrade Land Use Ordinance.” In the letter, he 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.” Hodgins told Grant to “immediately cease the commercial operation of the Brightside Marina.”

He 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.”

On Tuesday, Fuller said Town Manager Dennis Keschl indicated that any enforcement action for violations would be on hold during the appeal.

“Mr. Bearor assures me that as long as I am in the appeal process I can operate,” Grant said. “In the end, if I am denied, I have to stop renting the slips.”

The marina operation is seasonal, he said, and the slips are removed from the stream for the colder months. He said the largest source of revenue is the year-round wooden boat restoration services.

Grant, who notes there were no problems with his business operation until last year, said he now plans to investigate whether other businesses in the town have proper permits.

“If we’re going to be held to a standard, then everyone should be held to the same standard,” he said. “They cannot deny me and allow others; that’s just not right.”

Grant said that his intent a decade ago in opening the boat yard was for the permit to include both the waterside lot as well as the property across Hulin Road, where Grant’s house stands and where there’s a large garage for boat repairs, which he said would total 1.6 acres.

The Appeals Board found, “The request to add a commercial use to 24 Hulin Road or change the use from residential to commercial creates a change in use that is not grandfathered under the Belgrade Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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