Minutes of the Meeting of the Town of Frye Island
Board of Assessment Review
July 23, 1999

 Meeting Called to Order at 5:03 pm at the Frye Island Community Center

Present: Joe Potts, Oleg Svetlichny, and Jim Kuiken; Gerald Daigle, Tax Assessor
Attendees: Ernie and Lorraine Wrzesinsky; Paul and Ruth Ann Bourque, John and Laura Crosby; Dick VandeHei

Subject: Application for an abatement of taxes for Judith Comley: Lot 260, 261, and 262

Steve Comley represented Ms. Comley.

Chairman Potts opened the meeting and asked Mr. Comley to present his request. Mr. Comley discussed his erosion problem and the need to build his rock wall to prevent further erosion of his shorefront property. He  handed out three packets and discussed each packet in order (attached).

Packet 1 was documentation of his erosion with historical documentation of his permit and reasons for his building the wall.

Packet 2 was documentation of his efforts for assessment abatement from the Town of Standish.

Packet 3 was documentation of his correspondence with the Town of Frye Island.

At the end of his presentation he presented a video of his wall, the erosion of his neighbors property, and a sequence of storm activity and wave action at the foot of his wall.

Mr. VandeHei commented that 5 property owners had a similar problem on the bluffs but that they were afraid to fix the problem because of the possible tax implications. Mr. Wrzesinsky stated that the issue was not the wall, but what was it the Town administration would be saying about trying to solve environmental problems: fix them and be taxed or fix them and don=t be taxed. Try to encourage the protecting the land and the Lake and don=t fear the hand of government penalizing you with increased taxes.

Mr. Potts read two letters (attached). One was from Robert Giggey, Island resident, and one from Fred Gruner, Chairman of the Frye Island Watershed Committee. Both letters recommended not taxing rip rap or similar structures which addressed an environmental need.

Mr. Svetlichny asked several questions about land values, the value of the wall, and the value of property without the wall. Mr. Comley noted that other rip rap in the Town was not taxed. Mr. VandeHei noted that there would be no land to tax if there was no wall. Mr. Potts and Mr. Kuiken both noted that the wall holds the value of the land, prevents the loss of value and is really not an enhancement.

Mr. Daigle was asked to present the Town=s case. He discussed how Standish had taxed the Comley property and stated that he simply restored to the Comleys the 50% abatement value which the Town of Standish had once given and which had been taken away by the Standish Tax Assessor. He also responded to the question that rip rap was not taxed by replying that he would not embark upon the theory that the wall is taxable and that rip rap is not. He stated that seawalls in Cape Elizabeth were not taxed. Mr. Potts noted that taxes or lack of taxing can be a motivator or not to fix environmental problems.

Mr. Kuiken asked for a clarification: was the Board being asked to grant an abatement for an error in valuation and if so then the Board could not rule on the request. Mr. Daigle stated that the abatement request was made for an overvaluation not an error in the valuation process.

Mr. Potts made the motion that the abatement be granted for the 1999 Town taxes and that the  abatement be for $27,900 in valuation. Motion was second by Mr. Kuiken. The motion passed with an unanimous vote of the Board.

Mr. Kuiken made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:15 pm. Mr. Svetlichny second the motion. Motion passed with a unanimous vote.

Respectfully submitted,

Vic Richards
Acting Secretary of the Board