2017-02-24 / Community

News Briefs

All is fine with public works plow sign

Kennebunk has resolved the issue with the new sign at the highway garage on Sea Road, made from a 1950s-era V-style plow.

According to Kennebunk Director of Community Planning Chris Osterrieder, the fact that the sign is letter painted on a plow is not an issue.

Under town ordinance, “almost anything” can be deemed a message-conveying sign. However, the rules limit total sign area in the suburban residential zone to 36 square feet, Osterrieder said, and the plow face measured 32 square feet. The issue was resolved by taking down a separate sign marking the recycling and transfer station and filing a $30 permit application fee.

The transfer station is due for a $1.7 million upgrade next year, and that may trigger a site plan review and request to replace the recycling sign.

“Although there are some exceptions for directional signs, it is unlikely they would be able to expand the overall amount of signage they will get, and they’ll likely have to go before the zoning board of appeals at that time,” Osterrieder said.

Marijuana moratorium vote set for Feb. 28

Kennebunk voters will have a chance on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to vote on passage of a six-month moratorium on permits for retail sale and commercial cultivation of marijuana.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. So far, interest in the measure has been scant. According to Town Clerk Merton Brown, less than 50 people had cast early absentee ballots as of Feb. 14.

If adopted, the moratorium would be backdated Oct. 25, 2016, to when selectmen voted to send the enabling ordinance to voters. It would expire on April 23.

By Maine law, voters could then renew the moratorium for one additional six-month period, to Oct. 20.

The purpose of the moratorium is to block any applications for retail marijuana shops, or cultivation for retail purposes, as well as the establishment of “social clubs” where the now-legal drug may be consumed, until the town has a process for granting licenses. However, municipal action is largely dependent on rules to be established by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, following legalization of marijuana for recreation use by voters at the polls Nov. 8, 2016.

Those rules were supposed to be promulgated by nine months after legalization, or by September. However, on Jan. 26 the state legislature adopted a bill, signed by Gov. Paul LePage the following day, delaying implementation of retail sales of marijuana until Feb. 1, 2018.

Board continues pursuit of dam meeting date

Following a joint hearing with Kennebunk Light and Power District trustees last month, and a lengthy public discussion of their own, Kennebunk Selectmen have yet to schedule a promised follow-up meeting.

“Behind the scenes we are working on orchestrating some meetings of the boards, but nothing has been scheduled definitively at this point,” Town Manager Mike Pardue said at the Feb. 15 board meeting.

Pardue said those meetings will “absolutely” take place before March 31, the deadline for KLP to send official notice to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding its plans for the three dams it owns on the Mousam River.

Committee posts have been filled

Kennebunk selectmen filled three vacant committee posts, appointing Kimberly Patric to the West Kennebunk Village Committee through June 30 2018, while also adding Jacqueline Hawkins to the town recreation committee and Richard Taranto to the Lower Village committee.

The latter two appointments are for alternate posts ending June 30 of this year.

Patric, of Littlefield Drive, is a retired sales and marketing executive in the medical devices industry now working as front desk manager at the Beach House Inn.

Hawkins, a lifelong resident of Kennebunk, lives on Ocean View Road and is academic coordinator for the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Taranto does not live in Kennebunk, but is the owner of the Old Vines Wine Bar and the buildings at 171 and 173 Port Road, in Lower Village

Demolition of bridge ready to begin

Following approval of selectmen in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, demolition the Mathew J. Lanigan Bridge over the Kennebunk River between Lower Village and Dock Square will operate around the clock starting in early March.

Auburn-based T Buck Construction will conduct the work.

The 24-hour work cycle is expected to last five days and will allow the work to stay on schedule to for the opening of a new bridge before Memorial Day weekend.

At their Feb. 15 meeting, Kennebunk selectmen agreed to waive enforcement of the town’s noise ordinance during demolition.

“Most people have been generally receptive to the idea, to get it to over with, but realistically, we will have some people who will hear some noise and won’t be very happy with that,” said Chris Osterreider, Kennebunk’s director of community planning

“I would hope that our community would look to the concept of shared sacrifice, especially when it’s a short period of time,” Selectman Blake Baldwin said.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a no-brainer,” Selectman Ed Karytko said. “Business owners down there are not going to want this go on any further than it has to. ”

Without the 24-hour work schedule, T Buck had said it might have to return in November to finish removal of the middle bridge support.

Ambulance traded for auto chain system

Kennebunk selectmen have unloaded the town’s 2006 Ford ambulance for an Onspot automatic tire chain system valued at $2,950.

The chains will go on the new 2017 ambulance selectmen agreed on Jan. 24 to buy from Bangor-based Autotronics, for $219,155.

Selectmen voted Feb. 15 to unload the old ambulance, which has 157,000 miles on the odometer, deeming it a good trade as it needed an estimated $10,000 in work to fix a “significant engine oil leak.”

According to Fire Chief Jeffrey Rowe, a better condition version of the same 2006 ambulance might be expected to fetch no more than $3,500, if put out to bid.

High school to host annual musical

Kennebunk High School will perform “Around the World in 80 Days” as the annual musical this year. The show will be performed on Friday and Saturday evenings, March 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. and March 5 at 2 p.m.

Shows the following week will be Friday March 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. and March 12 at 2 p.m. The show will be performed at the Kennebunk High School auditorium.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at www.musicatkhs.com or at the door.

The artistic director is Michael Crockett with Julia Reinoehl as the musical director and Ben Potvin as the technical director.

Compiled by Staff Writer Wm. Duke Harrington. He can be reached at new@kennebunkpost.com.

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