Experience

Aquaculture

Verrill represents both growers and coastal landowners regarding leasing and licensing of aquaculture enterprises.

Coastal Property Rights in Kennebunkport

We represented coastal landowners in a high-profile appeal before the Maine Supreme Court, in which the Town of Kennebunkport claimed ownership of Goose Rocks Beach against numerous homeowners whose deeds described property down to the low water mark. The case turned on the interpretation of deeds and legal doctrines dating back to the 1600s, including the original land patents from the English Crown to Sir Fernando Gorges creating the Province of Maine. The Law Court affirmed the Superior Court judgment, finding that title to the disputed beach is held by the town. In doing so, the Court appeared to manifest its growing policy preference for greater public access to Maine’s coast, particularly its sandy beaches. Almeder v. Town of Kennebunkport, 2019 ME 151.

Enforcement

Verrill has negotiated and litigated with federal, state, and local entities to resolve violations related to coastal development, including homes, docks, seawalls, shoreland clearing, and commercial fishing operations. We have also negotiated beach management agreements to balance coastal property rights with protection of federal and state endangered species.

Piers, Seawalls and Sand dunes

We have assisted clients in obtaining federal, state, and local regulatory approvals for seawalls, piers, boat ramps, other water-dependent structures, and dune nourishment projects up and down the coast of Maine.

Protection of Private Coastal Property Rights for Conservation of Intertidal Habitat

Verrill successfully represented coastal landowners in first-impression litigation against a Canadian seaweed harvesting company with global operations to determine who owns the sea plants that are growing on private intertidal property in Maine. In March 2019, the Maine Supreme Court ruled unanimously in our clients’ favor on appeal, holding that the public does not have the right to harvest the seaweed growing on private intertidal property without the landowner’s consent. The case addressed an open question that caused controversy on the Maine coast for decades as the commercial harvest of seaweed increased dramatically. The appeal drew significant public interest and the submission of 13 separate briefs from amici curiae. Ross v. Acadian Seaplants, Ltd., 2019 ME 45, 206 A.3d 283.

Shoreland Zone Development and Land Use

Verrill represents landowners and developers in siting structures in the shoreland zone (including the seacoast) and ensuring ongoing compliance with the restrictions that govern clearing and development in the shoreland zone.

Environmental & Land Use Law: Protection of Private Coastal Property Rights for Conservation of Intertidal Habitat

Verrill successfully represented coastal landowners in first-impression litigation against a Canadian seaweed harvesting company with global operations to determine who owns the sea plants that are growing on private intertidal property in Maine. In March 2019, the Maine Supreme Court ruled unanimously in our clients’ favor on appeal, holding that the public does not have the right to harvest the seaweed growing on private intertidal property without the landowner’s consent. The case addressed an open question that caused controversy on the Maine coast for decades as the commercial harvest of seaweed increased dramatically. The appeal drew significant public interest and the submission of 13 separate briefs from amici curiae. Ross v. Acadian Seaplants, Ltd., 2019 ME 45, 206 A.3d 283.

Freedom of Information Law: Protection of Confidential Business Information from Public Disclosure

Verrill represented Blue Sky West, LLC, owner of the 185-MW Bingham Wind Power Project, in appeals to Maine Superior Court and the Maine Supreme Court, which revolved around the potential disclosure of confidential business information implicated in a Freedom of Access Act request made by Somerset County, Maine. On appeal, the Law Court held that the data of primary concern to our client was not a public record and therefore was shielded from disclosure. Blue Sky West, LLC v. Maine Revenue Services, 2019 ME 137.

Real Estate Law: Ambiguities in Ancient Deeds to Kennebunkport Beach Resolved in Favor of Town

We represented coastal landowners in a high-profile appeal before the Maine Supreme Court, in which the Town of Kennebunkport claimed ownership of Goose Rocks Beach against numerous homeowners whose deeds described property down to the low water mark. The case turned on the interpretation of deeds and legal doctrines dating back to the 1600s, including the original land patents from the English Crown to Sir Fernando Gorges creating the Province of Maine. The Law Court affirmed the Superior Court judgment, finding that title to the disputed beach is held by the town. In doing so, the Court appeared to manifest its growing policy preference for greater public access to Maine’s coast, particularly its sandy beaches. Almeder v. Town of Kennebunkport, 2019 ME 151.

Champion of Wind Energy Projects

Verrill successfully permitted eleven wind power projects in Maine with an installed capacity of more than 1,000 MW. The team shepherded projects through the Land Use Regulation Commission, Department of Environmental Protection, Army Corps of Engineers, and multiple towns where project elements are located.

In the Bingham Wind project, Verrill permitted a 17 mile generator lead line that traversed organized and unorganized jurisdiction in Maine. The permits included a federal Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Site Law and NRPA permits, as well as several local permits.

In the Saddleback Ridge Wind project, Verrill assisted Patriot Renewables in permitting 9.5 miles of generator lead in the towns of Carthage, Dixfield and Canton, Maine. The permits included a federal Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Site Location and NRPA permits, utility location permits from the Maine DOT and the Town of Carthage, and a building permit from the Town of Dixfield.

Solar Energy: Acquisition of Grid-Scale Project in Brunswick, Maine

Verrill represented Diversified Communications in the acquisition of a newly built $2.5 million solar array in Brunswick, Maine. The array, which was developed by ReVision Energy and went online in January 2018, will provide power to more than 100 businesses at Brunswick Landing. Verrill attorneys advised Diversified Communications on a range of issues in the transaction, including federal debt financing, solar investment tax credits, solar renewable energy credits, electric power sales, EPC contracting, and regulatory, real estate and corporate matters. We worked collaboratively with Diversified Communications and the developer of the project to get the deal done on a short timeline while minimizing investment risk.

Defending Constitutionality of the Wind Energy Act

Verrill successfully defended permits in which the constitutionality of the Wind Energy Act was challenged as well as numerous decisions involving the interpretation and application of sound and scenic standards that govern wind energy developments.

Independence Wind: Wind Power Development

We represented Independence Wind in the development of its Record Hill Wind project in Roxbury, Maine. The Record Hill Wind project is a 22-turbine, 50-megawatt facility located along the ridgelines of Record Hill, Flathead Mountain, and Partridge Peak. We obtained the following favorable rulings in appeals of Record Hill Wind's permits issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection:

  • On March 24, 2011, the Maine Supreme Court comprehensively denied opponents' appeal of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection's approval of Record Hill Wind's DEP development permit.
  • On March 18, 2010, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection rejected all claims made by project opponents and affirmed Record Hill Wind's DEP development permit.

LUPC Ruling Reversal

We obtained a reversal of a 10-year-old Land Use Planning Commission ruling for a Moosehead Lake landowner. The new determination found that the landowner's property was consistent with LUPC rules and allowed the client to convey his family camp to another family member. Without our advocacy, LUPC's position was that the client's property did not meet dimensional requirements and was not saleable. Verrill Dana attorneys also handled the landowner's real estate transactions and probate issues related to the camp, including confirmation of water access rights.

Major Wireless Telecommunications Company: Integration of Acquired Competitor

We represented a major wireless telecommunications company in a reconfiguration of telecommunications infrastructure to allow the integration of recently acquired competitor. We provided leasing, title, environmental and zoning work relating to reconfiguration on expedited basis of approximately 160 telecommunications sites in connection with acquisition of competitor.

Major Wireless Telecommunications Company: Network Build-Outs

We represented a major wireless telecommunications company in network build-outs in Maine. We provided leasing, title, zoning and environmental work associated with acquisition, permitting and build out of 200+ telecommunications sites.

Patriot Renewables: Wind Power Development

We represented Patriot Renewables in the development of several wind power projects in western Maine. In addition to assisting Patriot in obtaining federal, state, and local permitting approvals, our appellate work for Patriot has included the following favorable decisions:

  • On February 3, 2011, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection rejected all claims made by opponents of Patriot's Spruce Mountain Wind project and affirmed the project's development permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection.
  • On December 16, 2010, the Town of Woodstock Board of Appeals dismissed an opponent's challenge to the Spruce Mountain Wind project's municipal land use permit issued by the Town of Woodstock.

Shoreland Zone Development and Land Use

Verrill represents landowners and developers in siting structures in the shoreland zoning and ensuring ongoing compliance with the restrictions that govern clearing and development in the shoreland zone. We recently resolved an enforcement matter due to a contractor erroneously clearing vegetation in the coastal zone and have worked with landowners and municipalities to incorporate the State's recent amendments to the model shoreland zoning ordinance to address removal of danger trees and invasive species.

Waste Management: Solid Waste and Air Permitting

We represented Waste Management on the solid waste and air permitting associated with its Crossroads landfill in Norridgewock, Maine, including the permitting of its landfill gas to energy facility located there. We provide ongoing regulatory compliance counsel to Waste Management in its operation of Crossroads, the only remaining commercial landfill in Maine.

Wind Generator Lead Lines

In the Kibby Wind project, Verrill permitted 27 miles of generator lead line that traversed both organized and unorganized jurisdictions in Maine. The permits included a federal Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Site Location and NRPA permits, and Maine Land Use Regulation Commission approvals.

In the Stetson Wind project, Verrill permitted 38 miles of generator lead line that traversed both organized and unorganized jurisdictions in Maine. The permits included a federal Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit and Maine Department of Environmental Protection Site Law and NRPA permits.

In the Oakfield Wind project, Verrill permitted 56 miles of generator lead line that traversed both organized and unorganized jurisdictions in Maine. The permits included a federal Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Site Law and NRPA permits, as well as several local permits.

In the Bingham Wind project, Verrill permitted a 17 mile generator lead line that traversed organized and unorganized jurisdiction in Maine. The permits included a federal Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Site Law and NRPA permits, as well as several local permits.

In the Saddleback Ridge Wind project, Verrill assisted Patriot Renewables in permitting 9.5 miles of generator lead in the towns of Carthage, Dixfield and Canton, Maine. The permits included a federal Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Site Location and NRPA permits, utility location permits from the Maine DOT and the Town of Carthage, and a building permit from the Town of Dixfield.

Firm Highlights

Matter

Protection of Private Coastal Property Rights for Conservation of Intertidal Habitat

Verrill successfully represented coastal landowners in first-impression litigation against a Canadian seaweed harvesting company with global operations to determine who owns the sea plants that are growing on private intertidal property in Maine. In...

Blog

Verrill Helps State’s Largest Solar Project Obtain Principal Environmental Permit

Blog

Verrill Helps State’s Largest Solar Project Obtain Principal Environmental Permit

Matter

Aquaculture

Verrill represents both growers and coastal landowners regarding leasing and licensing of aquaculture enterprises.

Blog

Maine Law Court Holds Citizen's Initiative Cannot Block CMP's NECEC Transmission Line

Publication/Podcast

The Risks and Regulations Associated with Waterfront Development in Maine

Blog

Verrill’s Jim Cohen to Moderate Portland Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” Discussion with Key State Officials regarding COVID-19

On Wednesday April 8, Verrill attorney and Portland Community Chamber of Commerce president James Cohen will moderate the Portland Chamber’s first-ever “virtual” Eggs & Issues on the subject of Maine’s response to the COVID-19...

Matter

Coastal Property Rights in Kennebunkport

We represented coastal landowners in a high-profile appeal before the Maine Supreme Court, in which the Town of Kennebunkport claimed ownership of Goose Rocks Beach against numerous homeowners whose deeds described property down to...

News

38 Verrill Attorneys, Across Four Offices, Recognized in 2020 Chambers & Partners Guide

(April 27, 2020) – Verrill has been rated as a Leading Firm in a total of ten categories and subcategories as evaluated by London-based Chambers & Partners , one of the world's most respected...

News

Nearly 80 Verrill Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2021, Including a Dozen Named Lawyers of the Year

(August 24, 2020) – Nearly 80 Verrill attorneys were recognized as "Best Lawyers" by Best Lawyers® 2021 , including 12 attorneys named “Lawyer of the Year,” a distinguished recognition for only a single lawyer...