Rudman Winchell attorneys Edmond J. Bearor and Jonathan P. Hunter recently represented Emera Maine in an administrative appeal from the issuance of a permit for the construction of an electrical substation in Bar Harbor.

In the face of growing demand, Emera has been working for several years to increase the capacity and stability of its electrical network in and around Bar Harbor. In December 2013, the Town issued a building permit to Emera for the construction of a new electrical substation on Woodbury Road. The plaintiffs, who own property over 600 feet away from the site, appealed the Town’s decision approximately five months after the expiration of the appeal period. After the Board of Appeals dismissed the appeal as untimely, the plaintiffs appealed to the Superior Court.

At issue was application of the so-called “good cause exception,” an equitable doctrine that allows a court to permit an untimely administrative appeal to proceed if necessary to avoid a “flagrant miscarriage of justice.”

In a seventeen-page order issued February 24, 2015, Superior Court Justice William R. Stokes ruled in favor of Emera and the Town, concluding that the circumstances did not warrant application of the good cause exception. The court reasoned that the plaintiffs’ distance from the site, the fact that Emera provided notice of the proposed substation to abutting landowners, and the absence of evidence of any violation of the land use ordinance or the terms of the permit all weighed in favor of Emera and the Town.

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