AP NEWS

Town votes to sue neighboring community over border dispute

January 14, 2020 GMT

YORK, Maine (AP) — A Maine town voted to sue a neighboring community over a disputed border.

The York Board of Selectmen voted Monday to direct the town’s manager and attorney to take “any and all actions necessary” to contest the border with Kittery in York County Superior Court.

The disputed area includes nearly 330 feet (100 meters) of frontage along U.S. Route 1.

The border shown on current maps, including tax maps, shows a line that weaves back and forth slightly from Eliot to Brave Boat Harbor, the Portsmouth Herald reported. But York’s selectmen contends a straight-line boundary drawn in 1653 is the legally established border between the two towns, according to a letter from York Board of Selectman Chair Todd Frederick to Kittery officials last August.

In November, the Kittery Town Council Chairperson Judith Spiller wrote in response that the current border is reflected in “all relevant contemporary and historical documents.” Spiller said the 1653 line was imposed and enforced by a Massachusetts Bay Colony militia, and is a departure from boundaries documented before and after. She added that Kittery will “vigorously protect and defend her borders.”

The dispute arose after a York developer bought property on Route 1 that he believed was split evenly across the two communities, but a survey revealed about three-quarters of the property are in York. The border question has stalled the property’s permit process, which started last year.

The precise location of the border could affect not only property tax assessments but land use regulation, voting and more.

York settled with another community, Eliot, over a similar dispute in the early 1990s and successfully affirmed a straight-line border, which York officials have said bolsters their claims against Kittery.