December 13, 2019

Camden code officer defends resident’s wall

CAMDEN – The rock retaining wall along Harvey Picker’s property on Sherman’s Cove was permitted when it was built in 1998, the town’s code enforcement officer said Thursday.

An attorney representing the neighbors who are opposing Picker’s bid to build a marine railway to launch his boat claimed in a memorandum to the town Select Board that the work was done illegally.

Town CEO Jeff Nims said the riprap wall was constructed under a permit issued by the town and the state Department of Environmental Protection on May 12, 1998. The DEP permit was issued under the permit-by-rule provision, which allows the applicant to proceed with less scrutiny than under Natural Resource Protection Act permits.

Cliff Goodall, the Augusta attorney representing the Sherman’s Cove Association – the neighbors who want to stop Picker from building the marine railway – conceded that his claim about the lack of permits was wrong. He said he spoke with DEP staff, who did not have a permit on file, but that may have been a misunderstanding.

Goodall now believes the riprap work may have exceeded the terms for permit-by-rule applications. He also said that a neighbor could legally challenge the work under deep restrictions within the Norumbega Subdivision.

The neighborhood association is focusing its efforts, Goodall said, on stopping the marine railway, which they feel will detract from the scenic beauty of the cove. Picker is now seeking, through his engineer, state and federal permits for the railway. If these are secured, he must return to the Select Board to get town approval.

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