Town of Frye Island


Minutes of Meeting of May 28, 2004


A.   MEMBERS PRESENT:  Barbara Aranyi, Paul Lyons, Bruce Nisula, and Ernie Wrzesinsky


B.    OTHERS PRESENT:  (See sign in sheet.)  Paul White, the Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) of Frye Island was present. 


C.    LOCATION:  Frye Island Community Center


D.   CALL TO ORDER:  Bruce Nisula, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM.


E.    PRIOR MINUTES:  All prior minutes have been approved




1) Board Members provided their email addresses and phone numbers for the current season.

2) Bruce is to investigate procedures for Board Members to obtain tickets for last year’s attendance at the meetings.

3) Terms were reviewed.  Paul and Bruce announced that they would not be seeking reappointment when their current terms expire.  Paul was appointed at the
Board of Selectmen’s Meeting held on June 23, 2001; and Bruce at the one held on May 25, 2002.  It was also noted that Watson Clark’s term expires this year.  He was appointed at the Board of Selectmen’s Meeting held July 21, 2001.

4)  Annual Election of  Officers of the Board of Appeals: Ernie Wrzesinsky

was nominated and seconded for the position of  Chairperson. Unanimously approved.  Watson Clark was nominated and seconded for the position of Secretary. Unanimously approved.




1.     Variance appeal submitted by Agnes E. Sansone and Neil H. Leonard

Neil Leonard, owner, gave testimony on the application giving substantially the same facts as in the application, in which the building footprint shows a 10 ft deck contributing to the building’s setback encroachment.  Ernie Wrzesinsky inquired about the discrepancy between the plot plan and the septic plan, noting that there was ample room on the lot to either side of the building for necessary adjustments.  For the record, Bruce Nisula read from the Ordinance Section 101-I-14. Board of Appeals. Paragraph C (2 c), which states “The Board of Appeals shall limit any variances granted as strictly as possible in order to ensure conformance with the purposes and provisions of the Town Zoning Ordinances to the greatest extent possible and in doing so may impose such conditions to a variance as it deems necessary.”   He also read the following section from the Board Minutes of October 5, 2001:  “The Board discussed how to interpret what is a minimum reasonable return in the Town of Frye Island and arrived at the following reasoning:  The valid criteria for what constitutes minimum reasonable return must take into consideration the nature of land use throughout the community.  For Frye Island, which is a recreational community that is inhabited essentially only during the summer months (May-October, inclusive), a covered porch or a deck is a major component of land use by the property owners.  Indeed, virtually no one would consider buying a dwelling on Frye Island without a porch or a deck.  Therefore, a minimum, but reasonably sized deck or covered porch is logically part of Frye Island’s criteria for minimum reasonable return for “hardship” purposes. For other communities, which are comprised largely of year-round residences, the focus of land use by the inhabitants is substantially different; accordingly, such communities would logically not include in their criteria a porch or deck in providing minimum reasonable return for “hardship” purposes.  On Frye Island, a structure, which included both a covered porch and a deck, or either one in more than minimum reasonable size, would exceed “minimum reasonable return.” The Applicant then requested to amend his application and presented an amended plot plan labeled “Proposal #2” which showed the house positioned toward the rear of the lot within 8’ of a walking path right of way.   Barbara Aranyi pointed out that there is increasing interest in opening up the walking paths around the Town so they can be used.  “Proposal #2” as drawn showed a 7’ rear setback reduction and a 2’ front setback reduction, with no deck in the setback area.  Paul Lyons asked if the applicants had fully considered what it would be like to have people walking within 8 feet of their house.  In the end, the applicant amended his variance application to request simply a 12’ reduction in the front building setback. 


A motion was made and seconded to approve the following Findings of Fact:


Findings of Fact


1.     The owner of the property is Agnes E. Sansone and Neil H. Leonard.

2.     The property is located at Lot 1346, in the Residential zoning district.

3.     The applicant is the owner.

4.     The applicant proposes to construct a new dwelling with a deck on the subject property.

5.     A completed application was submitted May 6, 2004.

6.     A public hearing was held on May 28, 2004.

7.      Two relevant sections of the ordinance are:  Section 101-I-14. Board of Appeals. Paragraph C (2 c), which states “The Board of Appeals shall limit any variances granted as strictly as possible in order to ensure conformance with the purposes and provisions of the Town Zoning Ordinances to the greatest extent possible and in doing so may impose such conditions to a variance as it deems necessary.  The party receiving the variance shall comply with any conditions imposed.” And, Section 101-I-3. District Regulations. Paragraph A(7) which states “Minimum setback dimensions.  a. Front building setback: fifty (50) feet.”

8.     Dimensional standards required by the ordinance are:   “Front building setback:  fifty (50) feet.”

9.     The applicant amended request at the hearing such that the variance consist of a 12’ front setback reduction from the westerly property line fronting on Birch Road.

10.  The land is undeveloped.

11.  The conditions and character of the neighborhood are not unusual.

12.  The conditions of the property are as follows:  The property is roughly rectangular in shape, 93 feet deep and about 190 feet wide, with the latter dimension being frontage on Birch Road.  Due to the curve in the road, the property depth measures 83’ in the middle area where a house would be constructed.

13.  The reason presented by the appellant for the variance request is as follows:   If 50’ setback is required from the front and 15’ setback is required from the rear property line, there is not space to build a reasonably sized house on the lot.

14.    Other relevant facts include the following:  The date of the deed is July 31, 2003. A letter, dated November 13, 2002, from Portland Water District, stating that a septic system application would not be rejected based on the minimum lot size law, is provided.  A letter, dated December 20, 2002, from Division of Health Engineering, State of Maine, stating that a waiver to the minimum lot size law is approved, is also provided.

Unanimously approved.


The board Members discussion of their conclusions regarding the justifications for the undue hardship standards.   A motion was made and seconded to approve the following Conclusions:




1.     The land in question cannot yield a reasonable return unless a variance is granted because there is not sufficient depth to accommodate a reasonable dwelling.

2.     There are unique circumstances of the property that are not similar to the general conditions in the neighborhood because the property is approximately rectangular in shape with the long side fronting on the convex side of a curve in the road.

3.     The proposed use will not alter the essential character of the locality because other lots typically have dwellings with decks.

4.     The hardship is not the result of action taken by the appellant or prior owner because the lot existed before the Ordinance was adopted.

Unanimously approved.




Based on the above facts and conclusions, the Board of Appeals unanimously approved the variance request (a 12 foot reduction in the front building setback).




1.     Future Meeting Dates as follows:

June 25, 2004

July 23, 2004

August 20, 2004

September 24, 2004

October 8, 2004                    


I.  ADJOURNMENT:  A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 PM. Unanimously approved.


The above Minutes approved at the Meeting of the Board of appeals on June 25, 2004.


Respectfully submitted,


Bruce C. Nisula
Member, Board of Appeals