Showdown over RV park in Sebago

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

SEBAGO — After two years of controversy, a showdown is looming between the town and the developer of a 50-lot RV park on Sebago Lake.

The Sebago Zoning Board of Appeals was expected to rule this Wednesday on the appeal of John Swanson over a June decision by the Planning Board that prevented him from moving forward with the project.

“It’s been a very heated subject in town,” said Deputy Clerk Maureen Scanlon, who said some residents have even taken to creating round buttons with the words RV park and a diagonal slash over the letters.

When Swanson submitted a sketch plan in May 2009 for his project, the RV park was proposed to have 84 lots on 34 acres on Hawkes Road, off Anderson Road, which runs parallel to the shoreline of the lake. It was being considered under the town’s rules for subdivisions in place at that time.

After conducting studies and tests on the parcel, the project was revised to 50 lots when it was brought back to the board in April of 2011.

However, between 2009 and 2011, the town enacted a Land Use Ordinance that prohibits such development.

Swanson wants the town to consider the project as a pending project under the old subdivision law, but the planning board agreed with the town attorney that one meeting with only a sketch plan does not a pending project make.

Attorney Brian Willing said, “Under state law, a pre-application meeting before the planning board does not make an application for site plan review pending for purposes of grandfathering the application from any ordinance changes by the town.” Willing said the May 2009 sketch plan submittal was not “substantive” because the application was not complete at that point.

Swanson, however, is arguing that he couldn’t have make a complete application until he knew what information the board and the state wanted, and that it took him until June of 2011 to obtain all of the information.

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