HARTFORD – There was no decision Wednesday on the Canton Lake camper site presently in litigation.

The case, which is pending in the State Supreme Judicial Court, pits lot owner Kenneth Mains against the town in his quest to put in a circular driveway, camper and septic system.

The town’s attorney, Geoffrey Hole said after an executive session, that a settlement agreeable to the town was discussed, but since Mains’ attorney had already left, he would contact him and they would come back to selectmen with their decision. The Superior Court has approved the permit and now the town is asking for a reversal of that decision.

Hartford Selectman Scott Swain called the meeting into session then moved the meeting to the site on Canton Lake. Selectmen, along with lot owner Kenneth Mains, his attorney Curt Webber, town of Hartford attorney Geoffrey Hole, Department of Environmental Protection representative Rich Baker and Town Code Enforcement Officer Kay Hawkins gathered at the site.

The original request for a permit was denied by the Planning Board because Mains did not meet the 100-foot setback from the lake required by Shoreland zoning. The original plan only had a 50-foot setback. Mains then went to the Appeals Board and the permit was denied because Mains did not meet the four hardship requirements.

The Appeals Board declared he would be changing the aesthetics of the area by his curved driveway and enclosed camper. The board pointed out he bought the land knowing about the Shoreland Zoning law, which the town must uphold. He would suffer no economic hardship because he could use the land as a campsite and his lot was not unique compared to other lots along the lake.

According to Hawkins, the original permit request stated the camper would be a “pop-up” and now it is a 35-foot enclosed camper and the original permit had no mention of a septic system or a curved driveway.

Mains said he was told by the state Department of Transportation that one driveway would make it too dangerous to enter and leave the site onto Route 140 and he would need two entrances.

Swain asked Mains why there was no mention of a septic system in the original permit. Mains answered that he had septic system designer Darryl Brown draw up the plans before he applied for the permit and thought that was sufficient. The state wanted a septic system in lieu of a holding tank if there was room. Webber said the septic system is a must and there would be no settlement without approval.

Mains said that he was told he could have a holding tank by the code enforcement officer before he purchased the land. Hawkins said she had said that but she checked with the state and found that was not true. She sent Mains a letter to this effect before he began work. Mains started to clear for his circular driveway six weeks later.

Since this exceeded his original permit, Hawkins said she put a stop order on his work after which Mains had DOT put in a culvert. Hawkins called Maine Municipal Association and was told she could revoke the permit because Mains was exceeding the scope of his permit.

Mains hired an attorney to sue the town in a separate action because he couldn’t use his lot the way he wanted. Attorney Webber said that his goal is to get a new permit issued to Mains and to continue the suit for damages to Mains. The damage suit is pending in Superior Court.



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