Derby Line Buildings Face Demolition

DERBY LINE – Developer William Simendinger continues to argue his case to build a mini-mart and gas station where two historic buildings stand on Main Street in Derby Line’s commercial district. Simendinger, vice president of Champlain Farms (a gas station/mini-mart chain) bought the two buildings quietly a few years ago and revealed his plans for the property later.Controversy has dogged the project since the beginning.Simendinger's case is now before Environmental Court. The court has a number of appeals from both Simendinger and the Village of Derby Line. The issues create a convoluted situation.Simendinger now has the go ahead from the court to tear the buildings down, unless opponents file and get a hearing to reconsider the decision.Simendinger asked the Derby Planning Commission for a demolition permit, but the vote was a tie. Because Cynthia Adams resigned prior to the vote, there were only four members on the board and no tie breaker. The court ruled that the board reached no decision and so approval was granted for now.The court also decided that the Derby Zoning Board of Adjustment was right when it denied Simendinger a permit as mini marts and gas stations need 150 feet of frontage. Simendinger has 122. Simendinger's attorneys’ have asked for a 30 day extension to try and figure out what to do.After Simendinger's plans surfaced, there were several meetings and public hearings and nearly all decisions were appealed.Some members of the Derby Line Village Trustees said that they do not want another gas station in the village, which covers a very small geographical location. Many, including a number of residents, say the plan doesn’t fit in with the character of the village.