Casco shoreland zoning violator obliging
By Dawn De Busk
CASCO — In late September, Casco Code Enforcement Officer Don Murphy brought to the attention of the elected public officials a recent shoreland zoning violation.
The violation occurred on a piece of property off Parsons Point Road, a parcel located on the shores of Thompson Lake.
According to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton, shoreland zoning violations do happen now and then, and they are usually resolved between the town and landowners. This is the first time in several years that the issue has come before the Casco Board of Selectmen, he said.
The property owners who live on Parsons Point Road “cut trees they should not have. They limbed trees further up than they should have, and they made landscaping improvements too close to the set back from the water,” Morton said.
According to the shoreland zoning laws, trees and shrubbery cannot be removed within 100 feet of the high water mark of a body of water.
The landowners “had an existing dwelling which they rebuilt, and there were no issues there,” Morton said.
The problem was “removing vegetation and pruning trees too high,” he said.
“The property owner, at this junction, seems to be cooperating very well,” Morton said.
“They are submitting a plan to correct the problems including a planting schedule and some changes in the ground to reverse landscaping that was done,” Morton said.
CEO Murphy said the property owners had submitted a $25,000 re-planting plan.
“I have notified the owner that it would be on the agenda on Oct. 23,” he said.
On Tuesday night, the Casco Board of Selectmen received a copy of the consent agreement — a legal document in which the property owners outline a plan for repairing the damage done to the shoreland and a fine is set by the town.
According to Murphy, he used a template provided by the Department of Environmental Protection — which also assisted the landowners — and received a final read-over and okay from the town’s contracted attorney.
“Obviously, there will be a fine,” he said, adding, “As far as fine levels, I checked with Natalie (Burns, Casco’s attorney) and the DEP. The attorney said fixing the problem environmentally is more of the focus than the fine, according to the courts.”
“This individual (the property owner) has been cooperative up to date,” Murphy said.