Sunday River's illegal lot sale to its GM called 'honest mistake'
Newry officials plan to work out a consent agreement with Sunday River Ski Resort after the skiway violated an ordinance by selling a house lot before a subdivision road was complete.
The lot, located in the Village off the Green near the Sunday River Golf Club, was sold to Dana Bullen, Sunday River’s general manager.
Town Office staff found the sale in records received from the Oxford County Registry of Deeds.
Selectman Chair Jim Largess, who is also the director of food services at Sunday River, stepped off as selectman to explain what had happened.
He said the sale had been mistakenly rolled into a group of other real estate transactions undertaken by the resort. “There’s nothing right about it. Sunday River knows that,” he said.
Loretta Powers, town administrator, said it was the first time to her knowledge that such a violation had occurred.
Dave Bonney, Newry’s code enforcement officer, said enforcement options include fines and/or a consent agreement. Fines can range up to $2,500 a day.
Under a consent agreement, the party in violation agrees to conditions set by the town. “You can dream up anything you want, as long as the violator agrees to it,” said Bonney.
Brooks Morton, chairman of the Planning Board, said an example of an agreement might be to hold up board approval of a borrow pit Sunday River is currently seeking to use as a gravel source.
“But I think that would be counterproductive,” Morton said.
He said he believed the sale was an honest mistake.
The officials agreed some enforcement action was needed, however, to avoid sending the wrong message to other property owners.
If the town is too lenient, they said, someone else might see an opportunity to buy long before a road is completed, then simply say, “sorry.”
“We have to do something because there’s going to be a next guy,” said Powers.
Morton said he believes a consent agreement is the best choice. Bonney was expected to talk to Sunday River officials about options.
Third party inspector
On another issue related to the Village off the Green, selectmen turned down a request by Sunday River engineer Joe Aloisio to serve the dual capacity of project engineer and third-party inspector for the development.
The Planning Board had required a third-party inspector (to ensure erosion control standards are met) as a condition of approval. But in an e-mail to the town, Aloisio said he believed such an arrangement was “redundant.” He said his professional engineering stamp “would be on the line” to ensure the work met required standards.
Selectmen, however, said that allowing him to play both roles would go against the definition of third-party inspector. They were also hesitant to set such a precedent.
Morton said in order to allow a double role, Sunday River would likely have to amend its application to the Planning Board. He said he believed “it would be more comfortable for the process” to stay with a third-party format.
In other business, selectmen announced there will be no Memorial Day service at the Town Office this year. Last year, only three residents attended, they said.
(Note: The writer is married to Sunday River engineer Joe Aloisio.)