MINOT — Selectmen on Tuesday night received a report from Code Enforcement Officer Ken Pratt informing them that developer Chuck Starbird had applied for three building permits for properties along the unaccepted portion of York Road.

Town Administrator Arlan Saunders told the board that Pratt had taken no action on the permits.

Saunders indicated that Pratt, aware that town officials are about to challenge in Superior Court a Board of Appeals decision that would allow Starbird to build on his 5.2 acre lot that lies within 200 feet of the town accepted portion of York Road, had spoken with the town’s lawyer on the matter.

“The three permits were all for mobile homes. The permits were not granted and they were not refused,” Saunders said.

According to Saunders, two of the permits are for properties owned by Kevin Franchetti, one for property near Starbird’s and the other farther along the unaccepted portion of York Road, not far from Death Valley Road. The other permit is for property across from Starbird’s.

Franchetti, who owns considerable frontage along the unaccepted portion of York Road, tried unsuccessfully a few years ago to develop his property. At that time the town refused to issue him a building permit and his appeal to Superior Court failed. It was then that Franchetti sold Starbird the 5.2 acre lot that is at the heart of the town’s current suit.

Pratt initially refused to issue Starbird a building permit for his 5.2 acre lot in June 2010. In September, the Board of Appeals backed Pratt’s decision only to reverse itself in November when it accepted the argument that the unaccepted portion of York Road was still a public right of way and that Starbird had the right to use that as his right of way to the town accepted portion of York Road.

The appeals board ‘s Nov. 9 decision was 3-1, with member David Murphy remaining unconvinced that the public easement met the requirements of the town’s land-use ordinance.

At the time Murphy warned that allowing Starbird to build on the unaccepted portion of York Road would lead to a slew of building permit requests “based on this decision.”

The Board of Selectmen agreed with Murphy and filed suit, saying the appeals board erred because the town ordinance only allows building on properties with direct frontage on accepted roads, not on rights of way that lead to town accepted roads.

That suit is expected to be heard in Superior Court within weeks and, Saunders noted, Pratt was well advised not to take any on the three new requests for building permits.

In other business, selectmen authorized Saunders to have the highway supervisor post town roads when deemed necessary. Saunders noted that once temperatures creep over the freezing mark, which historically would be in about a week, heavy vehicles should be kept off the softened roads to keep them from being too badly beaten up.


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