Residents challenge approval of Yarmouth subdivision

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YARMOUTH — Six residents have filed a civil lawsuit against the town and McKearney Village, challenging the developer’s recently approved subdivision off Hillside Road.

The plaintiffs, Bruce and Suzanne Jones, Mary Dowd, Carroll Dunn, and Greg and Kara Salvadore, filed the complaint on Aug. 25 in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland.

They want the court to reverse the approval of the subdivision, which would contain 38 single-family homes and a 32-unit mutli-family building. The project has been before the Planning Board since January 2010, when the first conceptual application was submitted.

Since then, some neighbors have expressed concerns about density, traffic, safety, and environmental issues.

After a meeting marked by procedural confusion, the Planning Board approved the subdivision on July 27.

Suzanne Jones, one of the plaintiffs, said in an email Tuesday that the goal of the appeal is to “promote an objective and transparent town process which reflects a fair and balanced approach.”

“This development is one of the most significant considered by the Planning Board,” she said. “It involves the development of the largest green space in Yarmouth Village and will significantly and permanently change the landscape of Yarmouth.”

She said the opponents don’t expect the Planning Board’s decisions to please each resident, but they assumed the process would be more fair, respectful, and responsible.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs believe the proposed changes in traffic patterns as a result of the subdivision would cause unsafe conditions, create additional traffic on Hillside and Cumberland streets, and create new cut-throughs in the neighborhood.

They claim the Planning Board granted waivers of zoning ordinance standards that must be granted by the town’s Board of Appeals. They also claim the environmental waivers were granted without explanation and should be invalid.

The complaint states that the Planning Board committed “errors of law or acted arbitrarily and capriciously in granting waivers and subdivision approval.”

They also claim McKearney Village LLC did not exist as a company and did not have the legal capacity to file the application or accept the subdivision approval.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, David A. Lourie of Cape Elizabeth, said there were also several procedural problems throughout the Planning Board process.

A response from the town or a representative of McKearny Village is normally expected within 20 days from when the complaint was served, Laurie said. But he said he has not served the developer because it is not listed in the Secretary of State’s data base. 

“We can’t serve them if I don’t know who they are,” he said.

Laurie said a “very likely outcome” could be for the court explain to the town how to handle the approval process and then have the Planning Board start the process again.

As of Monday, Sept. 19, the town’s attorney, Geoffry Hole , said he has not accepted service of the complaint, studied the case or met with anyone about it.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.

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