July 25, 2010

Belgrade homeowner to fix land, pay $90,000

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

BELGRADE -- For cutting and clearing too much too close to Great Pond in violation of the town's Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, a Belgrade property owner will pay a $90,000 fine and restore the area as much as possible to its original condition.

click image to enlarge

A grassy area leads to a landscaped area and a stand of trees along Great Pond at the north side of a home owned by John P. Jabar Jr., who has agreed to pay a penalty for cutting trees and clearing an area too close to the lake, in violation of the Belgrade’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.

Photo courtesy of town of Belgrade

John P. Jabar Jr., owner of the property, has agreed to pay the state and town over a three-year period under a settlement agreement filed in Kennebec County Superior Court.

The filing resolves two lawsuits against Jabar, one by the state and the state's Department of Environmental Protection and the other by the town of Belgrade.

The property is at 9 Dane Lane, and the cutting and clearing took place between Oct. 31, 2005, and Aug. 25, 2008, to make way for a three-story, turreted stone-and-clapboard house on the lakeside, according to court documents.

Belgrade's Shoreland Zoning Ordinance limits cutting of vegetation and grading of areas within a 100-foot setback from the lake.

The court complaint said the activity took place in an area 110 feet wide and extending 100 feet back from he normal high-water line.

"Defendant created an extensive lawn within the 100-foot setback, and defendant damaged many of the trees that remained within the 100-foot setback by filling and grading around them and by pruning branches to a height in excess of one-third the total height of the trees," the complaint says.

The town's code enforcement officer notified Jabar of the violation in April 2009 and gave him until June 20, 2009, to correct it. The court complaint said corrective action was not completed by the deadline, and the state and the town then worked to reach a joint resolution with the defendant.

Neither Andre Duchette, Jabar's attorney, nor Jabar were available for comment Friday.

Belgrade Town Manager Dennis Keschl announced the settlement Friday.

"We cannot allow people to do what they want to do with the shoreland property that they own to the detriment of the lakes, our community, and others who follow the requirements," said Dan Newman, chairman of the Belgrade Board of Selectpersons, in a prepared statement.

Keschl said the town will put its share of the penalty money into a Water Quality Improvement Fund to pay for project to improve lake water quality. Those projects must be approved at Town Meeting.

The first year of the payment schedule calls for the town to receive $20,000 and the state $10,000.

Next year, the town is to get $30,000 and the state $15,000; the final year, the town is to get $10,000 and the state $5,000, Keschl said.

He added that if Jabar sells the property, which is on the market, the penalty must be paid in full.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631



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