Board eyes shoreland permit for Shorey Park

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Selectmen have agreed to ask for a full-blown Shoreland Zoning Permit from the Department of Environmental Protection in order to make some long-needed improvements to Shorey Park.

Public Works Director Jim Kidder, who is in charge of park maintenance, said the town has tried several lesser approaches with the DEP, including asking for a permit by rule, so that vegetation can be trimmed and reseeded by the bridge and that an unsightly pile of granite stones can be removed.

So far, no luck, he said; the state hasn’t been willing to budge an inch in its strict rules against making changes in the natural landscape for property in the Shoreland Zone.

“They say (the stones have to stay there, even though they’re an eyesore,” Kidder said. He said many other features in the downtown park could stand improvement also. “We’ve tried a couple of different approaches,” including involving the Lakes Environmental Association and native replanting suggestions by Lucia Terry of Perennial Point of View.

Kidder said the one thing the town hasn’t tried, is applying for a formal permit. The process requires a fair amount of research, planning and technical expertise, and can be lengthy.

The board agreed it was time to start the formal permitting process.

In other action taken at their March 8 meeting, Selectmen did the following:

  • Agreed by consensus not to pursue having the Moose Pond Causeway placed on the National Register of Historic Places, under the category of historic trails and roads. The designation is uncommon; in Maine, it applies to Acadia National Park’s carriage paths, bridges and gatehouses.

“If we put (the Causeway) on the register, there’ll be a lot more hoops to jump through,” said Selectman Chairman Bernie King. The board agreed it was satisfied with the compromise worked out with the State Department of Transportation to retain the granite stones on the Pleasant Mountain side of the Causeway, and to shift the road alignment to allow for parking on one side.

  • Asked Planning and Economic Development Director Anne Krieg to research the language of the moratorium still in place limiting any new applications for medical marijuana dispensaries. King said he was aware that a second medical marijuana growing operation was being considered on the Portland Road, but that the applicants were planning to submit a new plan. He wanted to know what effect the moratorium would have on that project.
  • Approved a continuation of the dispatch service agreement between the town and Cumberland County. The agreement calls for the town to pay the county $103,887 in the first year for emergency communication services through the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center. The amount will rise with population growth estimates to $107,013 in the second year, and $110,247 in the third year. The contract is based on a per capita fee of $19.94 for 2016, $20.54 for 2017 and $21.16 for 2018.

“Generally speaking, they do a great job,” said Bridgton Police Chief Richard Stillman of the county dispatching service. But residents still feel the sting of losing their own local dispatching office, and still often call the local number when seeking police assistance.

“We get a lot of calls to dispatch that really should be going to them,” Stillman said. Since those remarks, calls to BPD’s 647-8814 number are being directly relayed to Cumberland County and transferred by a dispatcher to the Bridgton dispatch office.

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