2018-09-14 / Letters

Voters should have a say in road approval

To the editor,

Few people know and understand the land use ordinance and subdivision regulations in Kennebunkport and what it takes to get a subdivision approved, it is a rigorous and expensive process. The process itself is available for review on the town of Kennebunkport’s website.

Part of the approval process is to provide the town with a bond or letter of credit covering 125 percent of the projected costs of the infrastructure to assure the town that the work will be completed. The developer must also put funds in escrow for the town to use to hire engineers or consultants to review the submissions and construction to see they are done correctly.

There is also a peer review process for each town department to do the same, including the police, fire, highway, sign, lighting, water, sewer etc. Depending on the size and location of the project there can be review by the DOT, DEP, Army Corp. of Engineers, etc.

All of this was done for the Wallace Woods subdivision and it received approvals from all.

Prior to the winter of 2017, the highway department went to Wallace Woods to review what had to be done to plow the roads. They brought up a number of problems mostly related to the curbing required by the planning board that made it difficult to remove the snow.

A plan was created to address those issues. The developer scheduled the work to be done in early August and was told it was too late for the road approval to be placed on the warrant.

The selectmen wanted those issues corrected prior to placing the item on the warrant for the November election. In the meantime the selectmen decided to draft an ordinance related to the acceptance of new public streets claiming the town cannot afford to accept any new streets because of the costs of new equipment and manpower. The town has no control over the maintenance of private roads and therefore risks the liability of not being able to provide access to emergency equipment like fire trucks and ambulances.

Wallace Woods, specifically Reid Lane, has a total of 12 properties on it with an average market value of about $12 million. Assuming they are assessed at 97% of market value at a mill rate of $8.76 that amounts to about $100,000 in additional tax revenue. There are only a few school aged children there so what additional expense is there to the town?

Developers understand there is no guarantee roads will be approved, that’s clearly stated in 12.2.B.1.a of the subdivision regulations, but if they have done everything required by the town and spent considerable amounts of money to have the roads built to town standards, they should at least be given the opportunity for the voters to decide if they will be public.

Bill Case
Kennebunkport

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