Roads, marijuana, recycling hot topics in Troy

By Stephanie Grinnell | Mar 19, 2019
Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell Residents of Troy vote by secret ballot during the annual town meeting March 16.

Troy — “Roads have always been a tremendous problem and money-eater,” Troy Selectman Richard Montana said. “But if you want to get around, it needs to be done.”

Shortly after his statement, voters at the March 16 annual town meeting approved $328,506 for the Public Works budget. Montana also ticked off a number of roads damaged by washouts this year and noted that selectmen are considering seeking a bond next year to repave all of the town roads, which hasn’t been done since 2004.

“As an alternative, we could go all back to dirt roads, but that’s risky,” he said.

Later, one resident asked why the town was no longer offering sand to residents in the winter, adding the sand is stored in a town-owned shed. Montana said there were people — some from outside town limits — loading dump trucks full of sand to be used in other towns. He suggested hiring a private service to sand icy driveways.

Recycling, sale of a piece of land, a local food sovereignty ordinance and adult-use marijuana also drew discussion. Changes in the recycling market have reduced the items accepted at most facilities, mostly types of plastics. Montana said trash from Troy will be heading to the new Fiberight processing facility in Hampden beginning in June but recycling will continue with Unity Area Regional Recycling Center, at least for now.

“However, there’s a new program with Fiberight to do recycling,” Montana said. “ … But if we pull out of UARRC, it will go under. Or if any other town does, too.”

Several residents expressed a desire to support UARRC. Montana said he believes residents of the town are responsible for approving any change to recycling provider.

“I believe we should stay the same or right now because it’ll take some negotiation to prevent a UARRC collapse,” he said.

Speaking about a parcel of land obtained by the town through the foreclosure process, a forestry trustee said there is a crumbling structure, trash scattered throughout the lot and utility liens attached. It is located on Ward Hill Road, near the Forest Area.

“We have a piece of recreational land with things on it nobody wants to be around,” he said, adding the estimated cost to clean everything up is in the range of $20,000. The town could handle the clean-up, or require it as a condition of purchase.

“It might be a benefit to do it ourselves to make sure it’s done right,” Montana said.

Voters agreed to authorized selectmen to sell the property. No conditions were attached and details of the clean-up might be worked out at the selectmen’s or Planning Board level.

Residents asked a number of questions about a proposed local food sovereignty ordinance, which was ultimately approved. The ordinance allows sale of processed products — specifically discussed were cornmeal, fruit jam, dried cranberries and raw milk — on a property where the product is produced, to an individual. It was noted the producer of the product holds all liability and the products can not be sold to a commercial buyer for resale.

Residents were somewhat more vocal when it came to adult-use (recreational) marijuana. Montana explained the state is developing overall rules but that each municipality must opt in to allow various marijuana-related uses. He said towns who do allow adult-use businesses will receive a percentage of licensing fees and taxes.

“I feel that we should pass this ordinance so everybody can do what they want to do,” he said. “If you think there isn’t marijuana in this town, I don’t know what hole your head’s been stuck in.”

Montana suggested approving the ordinance and said it could be repealed at a later date. Adult-use applies to recreational use only and does not apply to the medical marijuana program or growing of hemp. While some agreed — “I want the farm boys to be able to do whatever they want,” one woman said — others were concerned about enforcing the rules and having public feedback on where pot-related businesses could be located. The proposed ordinance includes a restriction of 500 feet from schools but no other limitations.

Another voter pointed out that federal law still considers marijuana illegal and others said it is important to limit childrens’ exposure to the businesses.

“We need to have some control,” the resident said.

“It’s Maine, mind your own businesses!” a man responded.

A property owner who does not vote in Troy noted he has had problems with squatters on his land growing marijuana, and said there’s nothing stopping that from happening to other people.

The moderator called the vote and with nine in favor and 16 against approving the ordinance, it failed.

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