BOOTHBAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A small family boatbuilding business in Boothbay has been shut down, after the town decided the business was violating local zoning ordinances. Owner Davis Stimson says he's been building and repairing boats on the land near his house for years.
Last year Stimson was issued a permit by the Boothbay Code Enforcement Officer to construct a barn, so they could build boats indoors. He says the code enforcement officer knew the building was for building boats. But after a neighbor complained -- and the code officer left for a new job -- Boothbay's town manager told Stimson boatbuilding isn't allowed in that residential zone. Boatbuilding is considered a form of manufacturing in Boothbay's ordinance, says manager Jim Chaousus, and manufacturing is prohibited in the zone where Stimson lives.
Chaousus says the town did not know the new building was to be used for building boats, a claim Stimson denies. The manager also says that because Stimson worked out of state for a few years, the property is no longer grandfathered for boat building.
The town issued a zoning violation and "cease and desist" order August 29, and Stimson and his two sons have been unable to continue work since then. Stimson isays he s appealing the order to the town's Zoning Appeals Board, hoping that body will reverse the order that shut his business down. He is also starting a petition to change the zoning ordinance.
The Town Manager says he and Stimson tried to negotiate a consent agreement that would allow him to complete the current boat, a steel schooner, but build no more. Stimson says the town's proposed conditions were unreasonable, so he went to a lawyer. Now both sides have lawyers involved, and say the process could take several months.