2015-07-10 / Community

Selectmen lift deed restriction

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — The Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen has cleared the way for a real estate sale by removing a restriction it placed on Arundel Road property 27 years ago, for reasons that are not quite clear to anyone at town hall today.

“It’s a bit of a strange one,” said Town Planner Werner Gilliam at the June 25 selectmen’s meeting.

At one time, septic system variances in Kennebunkport required approval by the board of selectmen. In March 1988, the board placed a deed restriction on a 19.5- acre lot on Arundel Road, then owned by John Fitzpatrick of North Andover, Massachusetts. At the time, the town code enforcement officer made the approval of a septic system contingent on a deed restriction barring installation of any additional wastewater systems on the site. Selectmen duly signed the variance agreement over the objection of Fitzpatrick’s lawyer.

Whatever plans Fitzpatrick may have had for the property, they appear to have quickly gone by the wayside. A month later the lot sold to Richard Siegel of Charlotte, North Carolina. It has remained vacant ever since and is assessed by the town at $142,000.

“Fast forward to now and we no longer have the ordinance in effect that was responsible for even thinking about the deed restriction in the first place,” Gilliam said.

That ordinance was removed from the books in Kennebunkport at the 2014 annual town meeting.

However, apart from no one being sure exactly why the code enforcement officer called for the restriction, which essentially limited the 19.5-acre parcel to a single house lot, the issue grows stranger still. According to Gilliam, rules in place at the time that called for 12 inches of drainable soil were easily met. Today, that standard is even easier to meet at 9 inches.

“It’s been shown that there are at least five test pits on the property that would not require any variance for any septic system under today’s standards,” Gilliam said. “Looking at the test pit data, it tells me the first person who originally handled this did not do his due diligence in terms of checking out the entire site. Clearly there were areas even back then that would have met the requirements for not needing a variance.”

The request to remove the deed restriction was made by Timothy Spang, who has owned an abutting 13.2-acre lot at 20 Granite Heights Road since 2010.

Selectmen voted 3-0 (with Patrick Briggs and Edward Hutchins absent) to have the deed restriction removed from the Arundel Road parcel. Spang assured the board he will cover all legal costs involved.

“It would all be on me to get it all taken care of,” he said.

Spang did not divulge what his plans are for the property.

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