2017-06-16 / Community

News Briefs

FIRE DAMAGE — With demolition and construction set to begin on the Arundel Fire Station on Limerick Road, damaged when hit May 26 by an errant Toyota Highlander SUV that failed to negotiate the curve in the road at the intersection with Mountain Road, the question now is just how much the town will get from the driver’s insurance company. Following a special meeting June 2, the board of selectmen hired one of their own, Jason Nedeau, to make the repairs, saying the emergency nature of the problem did not leave time to go though the usual public bid process.

At the time, repairs to the building were expected to cost as much as $70,000. Nedeau has since narrowed the estimate to about $58,000. However, Town Manager Keith Trefethen said as the June 12 selectmen’s meeting that an adjuster from South Portland-based Colonial Adjustment has pegged the expected payout at “12 to 15 percent below that.” Trefethen said the adjuster is factoring depreciation due to the age of the fire station.

“That’s how insurance works,” he said. “They’ve got the initial price, and then they are depreciating it accordingly.”

Funds for the repair will come from the town’s capital reserve account for municipal buildings, monies largely set aside for construction of the new town hall. Trefethen reported he is “trying to stay on top of” how much of the final repair bill will get reimbursed, adding he had more meetings with the adjuster scheduled for this week.

MORE FIRE DAMAGE — At least two dogs and an unknown number of rabbits were said to have been killed in a fire that broke out at Superior Kennels on Irving Road around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6. It is reportedly the second fatal incident at the kennel, which is actually two mobile homes connected together. At least five dogs were said to have died in a fire at the site in 2009.

Founded in 1998, Superior is a state-licensed breeder of small dogs that is associated with nearby Dubois Livestock. The kennel buildings were said to be a “total loss.” Nine towns responded to the blaze, and firefighters were able to save many of the animals, although an exact count of how many were kept at the facility was not available.

LOCAL VISIONARY — Kennebunk resident Betsy Smith was recognized by the Gulf of Maine Council on Marine Environment June 7 with its 2017 Visionary Award. Smith, who the council said “directly supports the rivers, beaches, and coastal waters of the Gulf of Maine” with her various volunteer activities, was nominated by the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.

Smith, who was described in the nomination as “tough, hard-working, and humble,” does water quality sampling for both Maine Healthy Beaches and the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance. She also participates in the Southern Maine Volunteer Beach Profile Monitoring Program, samples phytoplankton for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, serves on the steering and program committees for The Beaches Conference, chairs Kennebunk’s Lower Village Committee, and is former chair of the town’s Conservation and Open Spaces Planning Commission. She also volunteers at the United Way of York County and is a member of the Kennebunk Comprehensive Plan Update Committee. At the Wells Reserve, Smith monitors trail conditions, greets guests at the Visitor Center, and has been a trustee and treasurer for the nonprofit Laudholm Trust.

“The idea of retirement always terrified me,” she said, in accepting the award. “So when I moved to Kennebunk as a full-time resident in 2013 and found such a wealth of opportunities to learn new things, meet new people, and join community efforts to conserve and protect our very special natural environment, I jumped in with both feet. I’m very grateful for these opportunities.”

The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment was created in 1989 by the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to foster cooperative actions within the gulf watershed. The council’s mission is to maintain and enhance environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine to allow for sustainable resource use by existing and future generations.

The Wells Reserve at Laudholm is a National Estuarine Research Reserve and historic site consisting of 2,250 acres along the southern Maine coast. More than 25,000 people visit the Wells Reserve each year to walk miles of trails and learn about coastal systems.

TAX MAPS — Coming along just weeks after its new website went live, Kennebunk on June 9 unveiled a new geographic information system (GIS) tool the public can use to access property information, such as zoning districts, lot boundaries, public and private water mains, sewer mains, soil information, electricity service areas, and even the town’s trash collection data for the site. Each property is searchable by its address.

The application, created by Corson GIS Solutions of Portland, was a joint project of the town, the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District, the Kennebunk Sewer Department, and the Kennebunk Light and Power District.

“There were three goals going into the project,” Kennebunk Assessor Dan Robinson said. “First, to offer a consistent experience for our users. Second, we wanted to provide a tool that would assist the public with informational searches to use in preliminary planning or any other activity where data gathering is necessary. And last, we wanted to make sure there was a cost savings to the tax and rate payers, which was achieved by working together on all phases of this project.”

The new GIS application can be accessed on the websites of all entities involved in the project, or on the town website, at kennebunkmaine.us/GIS.

SEE THE LIGHT — Following a May 17 public hearing conducted by the Maine Department of Transportation at the Mildred L. Day Elementary School to solicit feedback on proposed road changes to Route 111 in Arundel, selectmen are asking the state to reconsider its plans.

The proposed upgrade would reconfigure Alfred Road and New Road where they intersect with Route 111, and install a half-mile-long passing lane on the westbound side of Route 111, between Old Alfred Road and Drew’s Mill Road. However, while residents at the session said the busy intersection should have a traffic light, MDOT officials said one is not needed, based on a review of traffic statistics.

The May 17 meeting was held, MDOT Senior Project Manager Ernie Martin said, to “identify local concerns and issues” about the rebuild. However, selectmen quickly Martin and his staff for appearing to poo-poo the concerns and issues raised.

With that in mind, selectmen voted unanimously at their June 12 meeting to send a letter to Martin asking him to reconsider, and offering to cover at local taxpayer expense ongoing maintenance and repair of any light MDOT might see fit to install.

“I think you will that, overwhelmingly, the folks in attendance were concerned about the failure to include a traffic signal with the design of the project,” read the letter by Town Manager Keith Trefethen. “The somewhat alarming testimony regarding daily experiences in utilizing this intersection expressed to you and your staff strongly suggest a need to reconsider this position.”

NEW FOOD — Just weeks after issue its first food truck license under a 20-year-old street vendor ordinance — a vote that came with a fair degree of confusion and legal consultation, based on the age and unfamiliarity of many town officials with the governing rules — the Arundel Board of Selectmen has issued its second such permit.

“We’ve opened the flood gates,” Selectman Dan Dubois said at the June 12 board meeting.

The first permit was granted May 8 to David Wallace, of Lyman, for his truck, The Seahog, which set up shop at 1654 Portland next to Just In Time Antiques. The planning board initially refused Wallace’s request because there is no mention of mobile food trailers as an allowed function in the town’s land use ordinance. Wallace then presented the town with the street vendor ordinance adopted by town meeting voters in 1996, and selectmen agreed to grant a year-long permit.

The second food truck, approved June 12, belongs to Lisbon Falls resident Randall Smith. Called Pinky D’s, it offers French-Canadian poutine — a concoction of French fries, fresh cheese curds, gravy, and other toppings. The enterprise reportedly won the 2016 Maine Battle of the Food Trucks.

Pinky D’s will set up at Bentley’s Saloon on Route 1 for special events there on June 15-18, July 15-16, and September 2-4.

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