2016-04-29 / Community

News Briefs

Kennebunk hotel project breaks ground

Dignitaries from the town of Kennebunk gathered with partners in Kennebunk Port Hotel LLC and project contractors Friday, April 15, for groundbreaking ceremonies of a new 73-unit Hampton Inn, to be located just off Exit 25 on the southbound side of the Maine Turnpike.

Kennebunk Planner Chris Osterrieder said Monday the location for the new hotel is the corner of Independence Drive and a private road in the Independence Park business zone known as Freedom Way.

The hotel, to be run by Hill Hospitality Group, which also manages the Wells/ Ogunquit Hampton Inn, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2017.

The eight partners of Kennebunk Port Hotel LLC are Chris Arapoglou, Tom Happe, Rob Juris, Thomas McDowell, Gregory Patterson, Irving Patterson, Mark Patterson, and Eric Pronovost.

Arundel elections taking shape

When they head to the polls June 14, Arundel voters will have a choice of at least three candidates for two open spots on the board of selectmen.

With Friday’s deadline for the return of ballot access signatures looming, Town Clerk Simone Boissonneault confirmed Monday that incumbent Velma Jones Hayes had returned her forms, as had challenger Noel Holmes.

A 2014 graduate of York County Community College with an associate’s degree in business administration and management, Holmes’ LinkedIn page gives his occupation as manager of plant services at Bristol Seafood in Kennebunkport.

Board chairman Jason Nedeau also has taken out papers to run for re-election. He said at Monday’s selectmen meeting that that he does intend to file before Friday’s deadline.

So far, only Ira Camp has taken out papers to fill Erin Nedeau’s expiring seat on the RSU 21 Board of Directors. The current chairman of Arundel’s economic development committee, Camp had not submitted his petition signatures as of Monday.

Meanwhile, the town’s budget board is plagued by its perennial lack of candidates for six elected positions. As of Monday, only current member Jack Reetz had filed for one of two three-year terms on the board, Boissonneault said. Michelle Allen has taken out papers for a two-year term on the budget board, while Mandy Grenier took out papers for the single oneyear term. Neither had returned petition signatures as of Monday afternoon.

The budget board has terms available of one-, two- and three years because, whenever there are too few candidates for the available slots, selectmen are empowered to appoint someone to fill the seat until the next annual election.

Candidates for municipal office in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport have until the end of business on Monday, May 2, to submit petitions for ballot access.

Graduate files available at high school

If you graduated from Kennebunk High School between 1996 and 2008, and you’d like to have your old student file, better act fast! KHS plans to shred any files still on hand from that era after May 30.

According to guidance office secretary Donna Nedeau Slattery, anyone interested in obtaining their old student file should call the school at 985-1110 between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. and wait for the guidance office prompt. After making an appointment, former students can pick up their files in person.

It’s best not to send a parent, spouse or other proxy, Nedeau-Slattery said, as identification may be required if office staff do not recognize the person picking up the file.

New emails coming in Arundel

Arundel selectmen will soon receive shiny new email addresses, at least if they want one.

Town Clerk Simone Boissonneault said the new, official addresses will use the @arundelmaine.org format. She is only waiting to see who on the board wants to use a town email address, and some selectmen have expressed a preference for continued use of their current private email addresses to conduct town business.

Because of the legal and logistical nightmare that can result from a Maine Freedom of Access Act filed on a private email account, many area municipalities require that elected officials use only email accounts housed on public servers. South Portland City Councilor Brad Fox, for example, has come under repeated criticism from his peers over the past year for repeated use of a private email account when contacting his peers and the press, as well as local residents, regarding council business. According to the office of Maine’s public access ombudsman, all emails sent and received by selectmen, except those containing confidential personal information or other data specifically exempted from FOAA rules, are public documents, even if housed on a private email server, or tied to a private email account.

Boissonneault said Arundel residents should keep an eye on the board of selectmen’s contact page on the town website to see when any new email addresses go live.

Shades to be installed at auditorium

Kennebunk Town Hall will be outfitted with new solar-powered rolling shades on the giant windows in the second-floor auditorium.

Selectmen chose Walker Specialties of Braintree, Massachusetts, from among six bidders to do the installation.

For its $5,600 fee, Walker also will clean, repair and reinstall the existing swags and drapes.

A low bidder, Statewide Specialties, also of Braintree, saw its $3,810 proposal rejected because it wanted time and materials for the cleaning work, a job selectmen thought might eventually exceed the Walker bid. Local firms missing out on the action included Solarized Window Insulators of Arundel (bid $7,000), Well Dressed Interiors of Kennebunk ($8,900) and Budget Blinds of Southern Maine, also of Kennebunk ($10,480).

Town hires consultant to assist with comprehensive plan

Kennebunk will pay $49,500 for a consultant to help guide the town’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance update committee though the process of updating the town’s compressive plan and zoning ordinances.

The bid submitted by Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission was a good guess. Selectmen had budgeted $50,000 for the job.

Of two other firms that applied for the work, selectmen rejected one as unqualified, while the other was deemed to specialize in mapping and graphics, rather than the intricacies of municipal regulation.

Federal order means new street signs are on the way

The signs, they are a-changin.’ Kennebunk is spending $25,000 to comply with a federal mandate that it increase the lettering on all street signs in town to 4 inches high. Selectmen had initially wanted all signs to be the same color. However, e911 compliance rules dictate that signs for private roads be a different color than those for public ways.

The board decided all public roads will continue to have green street signs. Private road signs will now be blue.

Arundel selectmen put out request for volunteers

Arundel selectmen have put out a call for volunteers to sit on various boards and committees. In particular, the town needs people willing to sit on the board of appeals.

The board is constituted in the town charter with five members and two alternates. However, Town Manager Keith Trefethen said Monday there are currently only two members on the panel, which sits in judgment of appeals filed over decisions made by the town’s code enforcement officer or planning board. And one of those two members has signaled a desire to step down. That means that, should the board be called upon to review an appeal, or rule on a variance request, it cannot legally conduct a meeting, for lack of a quorum.

“Luckily, there the board only meets when it has business, and there are not appeals before us at the moment,” Trefethen said. “But if one was filed, we’d find ourselves scrambling in order to find somebody to serve, in order to conduct a meeting.”

The town’s board of assessment review, also required in the town charter, can also have empty seats, Trefethen said, although it does have enough current members to conduct a meeting, if called on to do so.

Anyone interested in joining a town board or committee can obtain more information by calling town hall at 985-4201.

Compiled by Staff Writer Wm. Duke Harrington.

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