Any violation of this chapter shall be deemed to be a nuisance. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of any permit or approval granted under this chapter shall be a violation of this chapter.
Authority. The Code Enforcement Officer shall be appointed or reappointed annually by July 1 and, if certified in accordance with 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4451, shall have all of the powers and authorities described in 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4452, as the same may be amended.
Enforcement and notice of violation. The Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce the provisions of this chapter and the terms and conditions of any permit or approval granted under this chapter, including approvals from the Planning Board, the Design Review Board, the Board of Appeals, the Planning Department and the Code Enforcement Officer. If, after investigation, the Code Enforcement Officer finds that any provision of this chapter or any term or condition of any permit or approval granted under this chapter is being violated, he/she shall give written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, of such violation to the owner and to the occupant of such premises, and to any other person responsible for such violation, indicating the nature of the violation and ordering that action necessary to correct it, including discontinuance of illegal use of land, buildings or structures, or work being done, removal of illegal buildings or structures, and abatement of nuisance conditions, be taken within some designated reasonable time. A copy of such notice shall be submitted to the Town Council and shall be maintained as a permanent record.
Inspection and investigation. The Code Enforcement Officer shall conduct on-site inspections to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and all terms and conditions attached to permits and approvals under this chapter (including subdivision approvals). The Code Enforcement Officer shall also investigate all complaints of alleged violations of this chapter.
Records. The Code Enforcement Officer shall keep a complete record of all essential transactions of the office, including applications submitted, permits granted or denied, variances granted or denied by the Board of Appeals, revocation actions, revocation of permits, appeals, court actions, violations investigated, violations found, and fees collected. On an annual basis, a summary of this record shall be submitted to the Director of the Bureau of Land and Water Quality within the Department of Environmental Protection.
Actions and consent agreements.
If, after notice given pursuant to § 125-100B, the violation or nuisance condition is not abated or corrected within the specified time, the Code Enforcement Officer shall report same to the Town Council. The Code Enforcement Officer's report shall indicate the additional enforcement actions that he/she intends to take and whether the Town Attorney has been consulted or will subsequently be involved. At its next meeting, the Town Council shall vote to accept the Code Enforcement Officer's report. The Town Council shall not entertain comment from the person alleged to have violated this chapter nor shall it take any evidence relating to whether a violation has in fact occurred.
The Town Council or its authorized agent is hereby authorized to enter into administrative consent agreements for the purpose of eliminating violations of this chapter and recovering fines without court action. Such agreements shall not allow an illegal structure or use to continue in a shoreland district unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the illegal structure or use was constructed or conducted as a direct result of erroneous advice given by an authorized municipal official and there is no evidence that the owner acted in bad faith, or unless the removal of the structure or use will result in a threat or hazard to public health and safety or will result in substantial environmental damage.
Fines and penalties.
Any person who conveys, offers or agrees to convey any land in a subdivision which has not been approved as required by this chapter or who violates any term or condition of an approval from the Planning Board, Design Review Board, Board of Appeals, Planning Department or Code Enforcement Officer or who continues to violate any other provision of this chapter after receiving notice of such violation shall be subject to such fines, penalties, actions and orders as are authorized by 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4452, as same may be amended. A fine or penalty may be imposed for each violation. Each day of violation after notification shall constitute a separate offense with respect to each violation.
[Amended 11-5-1991; 11-2-2004]
Any contractor involved in any activity regulated by the provisions of this chapter may be held liable for fines for violating this chapter if the necessary permits for said activity have not been obtained.
Any person, including, but limited to, a landowner, the landowner's agent, tenant, contractor or seller at a farmers' market, who violates any provision of this chapter shall be liable for the penalties set forth herein.
Suspension or revocation of approvals or permits.
The Code Enforcement Officer may suspend an approval or permit if:
It was granted on incomplete or false information;
Continuation of the land use activity authorized would result in the violation of federal or state law or local ordinances;
The continuation of the land use activity authorized is endangering or may endanger the safety or general welfare of the community during the construction or work for which the approval or permit was granted;
The applicant or his/her agent is exceeding the scope of the work for which the permit was issued;
The Code Enforcement Officer determines that he/ she is unable to rule on the continued validity of an approval or permit, in which case he/she shall suspend the approval or permit, without penalty, and require the holder to file an appeal.
The Code Enforcement Officer determines that any term or condition of an approval by the Planning Board, the Design Review Board, the Board of Appeals, the Planning Department or the Code Enforcement Officer has not been met.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall suspend an approval or permit by furnishing to the applicant a written notice of suspension stating:
A suspension shall cease when the Code Enforcement Officer certifies that the violation or potential violation ceases to exist. When a cause for suspension has been removed or corrected, the Code Enforcement Officer shall so certify, in writing, and state:
If, within the time specified in a notice of suspension for correction, the violation has not been corrected or removed, the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke the approval or permit by furnishing to the applicant a written notice of revocation setting forth the reasons therefor.
During the period of a suspension or revocation, no work shall continue on a project for which an approval or permit was granted except in the interests of public safety and protection of the property in place at the time of revocation, such work having the written approval of the Code Enforcement Officer. No such work for which an approval or permit has been revoked shall be resumed until and unless a new approval or permit is obtained by the applicant.
Attorneys' fees and costs. An applicant shall pay to the Town all attorneys' fees, court costs and out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the Town in any enforcement action undertaken to correct the applicant's violation of this chapter.