POLAND — Selectmen on Tuesday agreed to take legal action against Middle Range Pond property owners Daniel and Torrey Murphy for violating shoreland zoning regulations.
In October 2012, the Murphys were cited for cutting a large number of trees along their shore-front property.
Department of Environmental Protection officials were called in and, according to Poland Code Enforcement Officer Nick Adams, initially figured the Murphys should plant 50 trees to rectify the situation.
The Murphys, Adams said, objected to the number of trees and, following negotiations, the number of trees was reduced to 10, each with a diameter of two inches.
With the DEP in agreement, on May 8 of this year the town ordered the Murphys to plant the trees by July 1.
At Tuesday's meeting Adams told selectmen that nine trees, each one inch in diameter, had been planted.
According to Adams, the Murphys felt nine trees fit the planting scheme better than 10.
Adams reported that he had checked the property on July 1 and found that five trees had been planted.
“They planted the last two (trees) yesterday,” Adams said.
Selectmen, upset that the Murphys hadn't lived up to their agreement and hadn't appeared at their July 2 meeting to explain why they hadn't complied, voted unanimously to direct Town Manager Rosemary Roy to contact the town's lawyer with orders to proceed with court action.
“We have to be firm with what we agreed to May 8. They aren't compliant yet. This doesn't set well with me,” Selectman Steve Robinson said.
Selectman Janice Kimball noted that agreeing to planting just 10 trees was itself a compromise.
“We gave them a set date. We'll lose credibility if we don't take action,” Selectman Stan Tetenman said.
The Murphys are facing a penalty of from $100 to $2,500 per violation per day, with a judge deciding the amount of the fine.
In other business, selectmen agreed to contract with Pike Industries, with a bid of $456,000, for the summer road paving program.
Because the total amount of the bid exceeded the amount the town has budgeted, selectmen took Summit Spring and Cobb Brook roads off the list of roads to be paved this summer.
Pike Industries will pave Tripp Lake Road, Jackson Road and North Raymond Road Extension for a total of $338,891.
According to the contract, work is to be completed by Sept. 30.
Selectmen also awarded the contract for painting centerline striping of some town roads to Poirier Guidelines at a bid price of $6,694. Poirier submitted the lowest of three bids received.