Board reappoints harbormaster, assistantResident requests that Blood Road remain public
Lincolnville — Following a lengthy executive session about the appointment of a harbormaster Monday, Aug. 25, selectmen reappointed Mike Hutchins until June 2015, with the condition that the Board and Town Administrator David Kinney develop objective criteria for evaluating his performance and a plan to do so.
Assistant Harbormaster Kendall Smith was also reappointed until June 2015.
In a phone conversation later, Kinney said Hutchins would be expected to work toward goals established in a series of workshops the Board previously held with the Harbor Committee, and to meet responsibilities established in the Harbor Ordinance, which he and the Board will cull from the ordinance.
The public portion of the meeting began with an opportunity for public comment on the Board's workshops with the Harbor Committee, and harbor matters generally. The comment period had originally been scheduled for the last of the three workshops -- the first was July 23, a second meeting was Aug. 13, followed by a third Aug. 21 -- but when Smith informed selectmen that members of the fishing community had expected a separate meeting for public comment, it was moved to the Aug. 25 meeting. When Board of Selectmen Chairman Ladleah Dunn invited public comment regarding the harbor, no one spoke and the lone fisherman present besides Hutchins and Smith left the room.
In other business, Richard Sanderson, a longtime resident of Albert Blood Road, came before the Board to ask that it not discontinue the road, as it is considering doing. He said the majority of the quarter-mile road is on land owned by Dan Thomas, which has been in his family for generations, and about 20 feet is on Sanderson's property. Sanderson has granted a right-of-way to Coastal Mountains Land Trust (CMLT) and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) to access their respective properties that abut his land. He said CMLT and IF&W use Albert Blood to get to their land, which is maintained for public use, and members of the public also use the right-of-way.
He went on to note that Albert Blood Road is not used as a private driveway; rather, he has a separate driveway that he maintains himself. He also said he and Thomas have done significant maintenance on the road themselves, rather than ask the town to do it.
Sanderson said he was concerned that if the road were discontinued, Thomas, who would then own most of the road, could close it off. Kinney said selectmen could discontinue the road, shifting responsibility for maintenance to those who live on it, but maintain the public easement allowing traffic to use the road.
Sanderson replied that if the road were discontinued, he would likely withdraw permission for the public to access the CMLT and IF&W parcels via his land, because of maintenance and liability concerns. Employees of the organizations themselves would still be entitled to access the properties, he said.
He read several letters, including one from Thomas stating that he plans to build another house on his property, that would need access to Albert Blood Road. He also read letters from CMLT and IF&W asking the town not to discontinue the road, each of which stated the road provides essential access to their land, which is maintained for the public benefit.
“For the good of the town and the townspeople, as well as for our families … I'm requesting that Albert Blood Road stay a public road,” Sanderson said.
In response to a question from Selectman Art Durity, Kinney said the maintenance the town does on the road consists almost entirely of winter plowing and sanding, the cost for which is likely less than $2,500 a year.
Sanderson's wife, Diana, also spoke, asking selectmen to balance the loss of tax revenue from decreased property values and the damages the town would have to pay if it discontinued the road again the savings of the minimal maintenance it does on Albert Blood.
Selectman Jason Trundy responded that the Board needed to go through the exercise of doing appraisals of the potential damages it would have to pay in order to know whether it was worthwhile to discontinue the road.
In other action, the Board voted to ask Kinney to draft a letter of support for the Municipal Review Committee (MRC) for a landfill it proposes to establish for solid waste by-products. The letter is in support of the MRC's application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The MRC oversees the limited ownership by 183 towns, including the four towns that make up Mid Coast Solid Waste (Camden, Hope, Lincolnville and Rockport), in Penobscot Energy Recovery Corp.'s plant in Orrington, to be closed in 2018.
At Kinney's recommendation, it also voted to adopt guidelines drawn up by the Cemetery Trustees for regular maintenance of the town's ancient burying grounds, and named the Trustees the caretaker of those cemeteries, with the right to inspect maintenance done by private landowners within whose property they lie.
The Board accepted with regret the resignation of Donny Heald from the Recreation Commission and the Veterans' Memorial Committee. Selectman Rosey Gerry appeared to express the feelings of the Board when he said, “I'm really, really sorry that he's turned in his resignation on both these committees.”
Selectmen also voted to consider a letter of resignation from the Cemetery Trustees from Corelyn Senn in executive session at its next meeting.
Several appointments were made, including: Scott Harrison and Ronald Moran to three-year terms as regular members of the Planning Board; Dorothy Lanphere to a two-year term as a regular member of the Planning Board; Cornelia Parker to a one-year term as an alternate member of the Cemetery Trustees; Sandy Lyle to a one-year term as a regular member of the Veterans' Memorial Committee.
Finally, the Board authorized Selectman Cathy Hardy to draft a letter to owners of property on lakes and ponds in town regarding the Fireworks Ordinance, and a fact sheet about the ordinance to be posted in any rental properties they own.
Ed. note: This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that it is the Municipal Review Committee, not Mid Coast Solid Waste Corp., that is proposing to establish a landfill.
Sarah E. Reynolds is copy editor for the Courier Gazette and Camden Herald.
Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, ride her ATV and play word games.
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