Docks sit ready to be put into Middle Range Pond in Poland on Friday afternoon in front of Cyndi’s Dockside Restaurant off Main Street (Route 26). Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

POLAND — A state Department of Environmental Protection official says the town of Poland is not consistent with its own shoreland ordinances or state law, after a resident raised questions about the town allowing Cyndi’s Dockside Restaurant owner Cyndi Robbins to add a third dock on Middle Range Pond.

Resident Jacob Legee came before the Selectboard Tuesday questioning why the town approved a third dock given his understanding that shoreland zoning regulations would not allow it. He has been questioning the town about the dock since July 2021.

“I am here because I believe the business has expanded past what was allowed. And there is no one willing to do the right thing,” Legee told the board.

Selectboard Chair Stephen Robinson told Legee the board has no authority over the town’s Planning Board and “doesn’t have the authority to make zoning changes.”

Robinson thanked Legee, saying he made “people aware of what was going on.”

On Thursday, Town Manager Matt Garside said that because Legee may go to court over the issue, the town would not comment on the matter.


The town approved the request for the third dock in the summer of 2020. Robbins first applied to add a dock with 32 boat slips on June 9, 2020. The Planning Board tabled approval of the site plan until June 23 of that year, when a site walk would be conducted.

On June 23, Robbins, also owner of Poland Spring Resort, requested an extension until a July 15, 2020, Planning Board meeting to amend the application to reduce the number of boat slips to 22. At the meeting it was learned that Range Ponds Association members and Robbins had come to an understanding, according to town records.

Mike Morse, of Morse Environmental — and an agent for the restaurant in the application process — told the Planning Board that Robbins was seeking to reduce the number to 22 because she wanted to remain good neighbors with lake residents who had raised safety and environmental concerns.

The Planning Board subsequently approved the application at its July 15 meeting.

Docks ready to be put in the water sit on the side of Middle Range Pond on Friday afternoon, right in front of Cyndi’s Dockside Restaurant off Main Street (Route 26) in Poland. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

About a year later, in May 2021, Legee, who lives near Middle Range Pond, said he contacted Poland Code Enforcement Officer Scott Neal, when Legee noticed the third dock being installed. It sits along Route 26 where it runs between Lower and Middle Range Ponds. He said he was noticing the lake was more crowded and he was concerned about degradation of the pond’s water quality.

According to Legee, Neal’s response to his inquiry about the third dock was that the association had come to an agreement with Robbins allowing the third dock. Because town officials would not answer questions Thursday, Neal could not be reached for comment.


Legee contends the Planning Board erroneously considered the restaurant to be in the town’s Village District One Zone, when it should be adhering to regulations in the Shoreland Zone because of the dock’s proximity to the lake.

While town officials declined to comment for this story last week, Morse, whose company installed the dock, told the Planning Board on June 9, 2020, that “Shoreland zoning standards don’t specifically apply to this project. The Village One Commercial standards that the Department of Environmental Protection Shoreland zoning staff have approved (are) the substitute zoning standards for that area … which is why the application did not address all the dock standards … because we are tied to the Village One standards.”

The town’s current zoning map shows the restaurant to be carved out of the Shoreland Zone.

Before Legee spoke to members at their meeting earlier this week, Deputy Town Manager Nikki Pratt wrote in a memo to the Selectboard: “July 2021 to present — Mr. Legee continues to question why and how the dock was allowed, along with now questioning why a TIF (tax increment financing) project is being completed that only benefits the same property owner. Both our town attorney and the Attorney General’s Office have been involved and have stated either verbally or in writing that we have made available all information we need to regarding the complaint and that our records are complete as to what is required by state statutes.”

Last year, when Legee began questioning the third dock, he filed an appeal with the Board of Appeals on June 18, 2021; a hearing date was set for July 21. But before that occurred, Legee said, the board denied his claim that the third dock was violating regulations on two factors, according to town records:

— The appeal was not timely because it was being made more than 45 days after the site plan was approved.


— The Board of Appeals “has no jurisdiction to review the merits” of a site plan approved by the Planning Board.

Last year, Legee contacted Colin Clark, shoreland zoning coordinator in the Bureau of Land Resources with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, with his concerns. On Thursday, in response to a Sun Journal request for comment on the issue, Clark responded:

“I had advised Jacob that Cyndi’s Dockside property seems to have been pulled from the Shoreland Zone some time ago, which is not consistent with the ordinance or state law given the following standard that is in both places.”

He cited language indicating the ordinance overseeing the Shoreland Zone “applies to all land areas within 250 feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line of any great pond or river; upland edge of a coastal wetland, including all areas affected by tidal action; upland edge of a freshwater wetland; and all land areas within 75 feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line of a stream.

Clark noted, “Given that (the restaurant) is not located in the Shoreland Zone on the town’s map as it should be, they did the approval (for the dock) based on the district standards not located in the Shoreland Zone. I have informed the town of this and we are working through the process of getting the maps rectified.”

He added, “There are actually three spots on their map like this, not just this property, that need to be dealt with. I am expecting a submission from the town on their recent updates to their CLUC (Comprehensive Land Use Code) in which these issues can be addressed.”


Asked if DEP staff signed off on moving the restaurant from the Shoreland Zone to the Village One Zone, as Morse told the Planning Board on June 19, 2020, Clark said that was before his time. He noted, “I was advised by the town that there was an approval for that change to the district, but I have not been able to find a record of that occurring in the paper or electronic files” and the town was “not able to produce any documentation.”

Because the town manager declined to answer questions about the issue, it is unclear what may change in the future, the timing of any potential changes, or what effect any changes would have on the restaurant.

Asked if he planned to take legal action against the town as Garside had mentioned he might, Legee said Thursday, “I’m hoping that the attention is enough to prevent the dock from going in the water this season. I feel like it would be pretty brazen to do that and put this on Scott (Neal) to enforce.”

If necessary, he added, “I will file another complaint about the dock violation and plan to take steps to ensure it gets enforced. ”

Reached for comment Friday, Robbins said she was preparing to use the third dock because she has permission from the town to do so.

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