The parking lot at 376 Main Street ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Appeals Board finds CEO acted in error 

SOUTHWEST HARBOR Members of the Board of Appeals decided code enforcement officer John Larson acted in error when he lifted a cease and desist order from the parking lot at 376 Main Street in February. 

In their meeting on July 15, a continuation of a hearing initiated in April regarding lighting at the parking lot, the board remanded the appeal filed by neighboring property owners Jay and Jennifer Perruzzi back to the code enforcement officer to reconsider the lifting of a cease and desist order.  

In October 2019, Larson issued the cease and desist based on the fact the lot had not been completed according to the plan approved by the town’s Planning Board. Variants from the original plan had to do with lighting, stormwater drainage and buffering around the property. There have been several changes to the original plan brought before the Planning Board, but neighbors contest it is not always clear what that board approves. In the previous Board of Appeals hearing, Larson stated he lifted the cease and desist after receiving notification from several qualified parties that the lot was complete and in compliance with the ordinance.  

After appellate review at the April meeting, members of the Board of Appeals requested a light reading be done in the parking lot by an objective party to determine if it was in compliance with the town’s land use ordinance requirements. Until the light reading could be done, the hearing was postponed.  

A lighting engineer conducted a reading in the parking lot on May 11. While the Board of Appeals determined the lighting in the lot was not in compliance in February, it also determined it was not in compliance at the time the reading was done in May. 

According to deputy code enforcement officer Jesse Dunbar, the town’s land use ordinance states that light bulb(s) not be visible from neighboring property lines. Following the May 11 reading, the lighting engineer recommended shields that would comply with the ordinance and have since been installed, Dunbar said. 


Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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