2017-05-12 / Community

News Briefs

ROAD MEETING — The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) is looking for public feedback on proposed road changes to Route 111 in Arundel in order to “identify local concerns and issues.”

The proposed upgrade would reconfigure Alfred Road and New Road at the Route 111 intersection, and install a half-mile-long passing lane on the westbound side of Route 111, between Old Alfred Road and Drew’s Mill Road.

The public meeting with MDOT officials will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, in the Mildred L. Day Elementary School gymnasium.

CULVERT VOTE CANCELED — When Selectmen in Arundel voted May 8 to finalize the warrant for the annual town meeting in June, one expected item was missing.

At their April 12 meeting, selectmen voted unanimously to ask voters for $5,000 to repair damage to Curtis Road, a private road over which the town has a public right-of-way.

Residents Matt Tardiff and Steve Pelletier had asked the town to cover repairs, claiming the damage was caused by runoff from ditching work the town had done uphill from the site, where the road is a public way, sending more water than the culvert could handle, causing portions of the road base to wash away. Public Works Director Roger Taschereau said part of the problem may also be that the culvert, installed by the town in the mid-1960s, is failing.

Selectmen did not presume any culpability on the part of the town road crew for directing added water to the site, and said the town is not responsible under Maine law to replace the culvert. However, they did agree to pass on the request to voters, saying they could not authorize the spending on their own because the damaged section is not part of the town-owned section of road.

Town Manager Keith Trefethen said Monday that since then a “private benefactor” who owns property on Curtis Road has come forward with an offer to fund repairs.

“He wishes to remain anonymous,” Trefethen said.

LAND SALE — As soon as their next meeting, May 22, Arundel selectmen may vote on a plan to sell off as many as 10 tax-acquired properties. At the board’s May 8 meeting, Town Manager Keith Trefethen got the nod from selectmen to draw up a list of lots taken by the town for non-payment of taxes over the years, and work with department heads to come up with recommendations for which to keep and which to sell by public bid.

The project was precipitated by an inquiry from Mountain Road residents Don and Karen Holbrook. The couple recently approached the planning board about building a private road to a portion of their property to service a pair of house lots they plan to gift their children. The planning board said that would mean regrading the existing driveway and moving underground power lines, work that tallied to a prohibitive cost of more than $300,000.

The Holbrook property abuts a six-acre parcel owned by the town on Bergeron Lane and the couple asked Trefethen if the town might be willing to sell, on the hope that building an access road across that section might be cheaper, even with the purchase cost.

“At this point we aren’t even sure this would cost any less money,” Karen Holbrook wrote in an April 24 email. “We are just looking at possible options. Otherwise, our kids will look to purchase land in another town.”

Trefethen replied that selectmen would have to advertise the property via a public bid process.

Selectmen did not indicate at their May 8 meeting whether they would entertain selling that or any of the town-owned lots, which include two other parcels on Bergeron Lane. However, they did ask Trefethen to work up a list of all tax-acquired properties for discussion at their next meeting.

FIELD FREEZE — Arundel selectmen decided at their May 8 meeting that the town will not share the ball field behind the Mildred L. Day Elementary School, now used by the Arundel Little League. At the April 11 board meeting, Recreation Director Jennifer Dumas said she had been approached by a new team in the New England Elite Baseball League of youth travel teams and asked of the town would consider renting out the ball field for its use.

Selectmen were willing to entertain the idea, but said right of first refusal went to the Little League, given the time and money its volunteers have poured into the field. In a May 1 letter, the Arundel Little League Board of Directors pegged that maintenance at more than $10,000, with the field finally in a condition that it can hose official Little League tournaments.

“Our concern is that outside teams will not show the same level of respect for our fields that we do, and the impact this will have on the Little League, including potentially limiting our access,” the board wrote.

Selectmen voted unanimously to deny the use request.

CRUISER CRUNCH — If any car aficionados in Arundel think the cruiser used in town by the York County Sherriff’s Office looks a bit different, they are not mistaken. That’s because the new cruiser voters at last year’s annual town meeting agreed to pay for has recently been replaced by an even newer model. The reason — the old new cruiser was totaled in a March 17 accident.

According to Sheriff William King, Arundel Contract Deputy Greggory Sevigny was dispatched to a three-car crash near Ashley’s Restaurant and was responding to the site in the newly purchased 2016 Ford SUV with lights and sirens active when he reached the intersection of Route 111 and Old Dogs Lane.

“He proceeded through the red light and collided with another vehicle, a 2007 Chevrolet sedan, driven by David Audie of Biddeford,” King wrote, describing the accident in a recent email sent in response to a Post inquiry. “The impact of the crash pushed the cruiser into the center island. Both vehicles were towed from the scene. No one was injured in the crash and both the deputy and David Audie, the sole occupant of the other vehicle, were able to get out of their vehicles on their own.”

King said the county’s insurance adjuster deemed the cruiser totaled and a new 2017 Ford SUV was purchased from Quirk Ford as an emergency bid. Insurance covered the cost of the new vehicle, King said.

CLERK IN THE WORKS — According to Arundel Town Manager Keith Trefethen, more than 20 applicants have turned in resumes for a part-time town clerk post. Trefethen said he expects to interview all 20 applicants in May and have the new clerk on the job by early June.

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

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