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Harding v. Commissioner of Marine Resources

Citation: 17 ELR 20101
No. No. Kno.-85-200, 510 A.2d 533/(Me., 05/30/1986)

The court holds that neither Maine statutory law nor the public trust doctrine requires the state agency charged with administering the leasing of submerged lands for aquaculture to consider diminution of property values of adjoining areas. The court initially holds that it has jurisdiction over the appeal of the district court's interlocutory order remanding the case to the agency to take evidence of diminution of property values, because of the impact the remand would have on future agency leasing procedures and the possibility to preclusion of review of this issue. Turning to the merits, the court holds that the plain language of Maine's aquaculture leasing statute requires consideration only of whether the leasing would conflict with shoreline zoning or interfere with navigation, fishing or the ingress and egress of riparian owners. The catch-all phrase requiring consideration of interference with "other uses" refers to those uses that traditionally take place in the aquaculture areas, and not to property values. The court also holds that the public trust doctrine does not require consideration of property values by implication.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Frederick Newcomb III
407 Main St., Rockland ME 04841
(207) 594-5178

Counsel for Defendants
Jeffrey Pidot, Ass't Attorney General
State House Station #6, Augusta ME 04333
(207) 289-3661

Edward F. Bradley
Suite 303, Marine Trade Ctr., P.O. Box 267 DTS, Portland ME 04112
(207) 773-0788

Before NICHOLS, ROBERTS, VIOLETTE, WATHEN and SCOLNIK, JJ., and WERNICK, A.R.J.

All concurring.