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Rowe v. City of South Portland

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
730 A.2d 673 (1999)


Nancy Buck purchased a plot of land along the coast of Maine in 1996. When constructing a residence on the plot, her builder set the home back farther from the beach than was originally depicted in the plans for the residence. The purpose of this was to avoid any damage from erosion to the land due to its proximity to the ocean. In setting the house back farther, Buck’s residence did not provide an area sufficient for a front yard as required by a zoning ordinance in the City of South Portland (defendant), where the land was located. As a result, Buck’s neighbor, Edward Rowe (plaintiff), brought an action in front of the city’s zoning board, which denied Buck’s certificate of occupation because of the encroachment. Buck appealed the decision, with the Board of Appeals granting her a variance. Rowe appealed this decision to the trial court, which affirmed the Board of Appeals’ decision. Rowe then petitioned for certiorari to the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wathen, C.J.)

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