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November 9, 2018

York, Kittery wrestle a centuries-old border disagreement

A developer's plan for property in York is prompting the town and neighboring Kittery to resolve a border discrepancy that dates to the 17th century.

A certified survey commissioned by Duane Jellison, who owns land along U.S. Route 1, claims the town line there is 250 to 300 feet south of its currently accepted location, the York Weekly reported Thursday.

The issue led the York Board of Selectmen on Monday to request a meeting with the Kittery Town Council.

Questions about the border arose in September, after Jellison notified York town officials about a problem in determining the boundary of property he had purchased across from Burrito Betty's, at 2 U.S. Route 1. His company, DLJ Corporation, intends to develop the parcel, probably as a residential subdivision.

Jellison had believed the parcel straddled the York-Kittery line in roughly equal portions, according to the newspaper, but closer inspection showed about three-quarters of the land to be within York.

"We're moving forward (with developing the land) based on that," Jellison said at the time.

York Town Manager Steve Burns said he received a copy of Jellison's survey report this week, and contacted Kittery Town Manager Kendra Amaral about the discrepancy. Amaral indicated Kittery will "work to defend the boundary as it is," Burns said. York will probably seek legal and survey assistance.

Conflicting versions of the border were shown in historic maps from the 1690s, as well as one from 1794, according to Burns.

"It's just one of those old mysteries that's kind of neat until it's a pain," he told the Weekly.

But the three-century mystery could have a 21st-century impact.

"There are going to be implications all across the border," Burns said. "This is a big deal. This could impact property taxation, land use regulation, voting, cemetery maintenance and who knows what else."

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