Bridgton election results; Save Town Hall group prevails

Results at a glance:

Selectman, two three-year terms

Bernie King — 580

Paul Hoyt — 553

Planning Board, one three-year term

Brian Thomas — 709

Planning Board Alternate, one three-year term

Dee Miller — 3

Roxy Hagerman — 2

Thomas Harriman — 2

Peter Oberg — 2

Phyllis Roth — 2

SAD 61 Director, one one-year term

Karla Swanson-Murphy — 558

Charles Peter Mortenson — 250

SAD 61 Director, one three-year term

Cynthia LeBlanc — 447

Lee Martel-Bearse — 355

Bridgton Water District, one three-year term

Barry Gilman — 716

Q. 1: Affordable Housing

Yes — 535

No — 328

Q. 2: Fire Protection

Yes — 438

No — 407

Q. 3: Alarm Systems

Yes — 450

No — 364

Q. 4: Bear River Aquifer

Yes — 559

No — 273

Q. 5: Sign Ordinance

Yes — 442

No — 419

Q. 6: Site Plan Review

Yes — 507

No — 295

Q. 7: Shoreland Zoning

Yes — 481

No — 336

Q. 8: Willis Brook Aquifer

Yes — 524

No — 291

Q. 9: Town Hall

Yes — 380

No — 550

Q. 10: Cell Towers

Yes — 644

No — 262

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton’s Vote No crowd for Question 9 won the day Tuesday by defeating a citizen’s petition that would have put off repairs to Town Hall. The vote was not even close, with 550 against delaying repairs, and 380 in favor.

All other referendum questions passed, although voting was close on the new Fire Protection Ordinance (438–407) and amendments to the Sign Ordinance (442–419). A new Local Preference Housing Ordinance, once the subject of much controversy, passed easily by a 535–328 vote.

In local elections, Cynthia LeBlanc bested Lee Martel-Bearse in a contest for a three-year seat on the SAD 61 Board of Directors, while Karla Swanson-Murphy beat out Charles Peter Mortenson for a one-year seat on the school board. Uncontested incumbent Selectmen Bernie King and Paul Hoyt were re-elected by votes of 580 and 553, respectively.

It remained to be seen as presstime what, if any, additional effort might be made by Town Hall petitioners at Wednesday night’s Town Meeting to put off the repairs, by reducing budgeted line items for the $325,000 stabilization project.

The vote was a victory for the Jumpin’ Janes and other recreation supporters who campaigned under the cry of “Save Town Hall,” even though petitioners argued they were only seeking a fiscally-responsible funding plan from selectmen. They didn’t think it was a good idea to use Community Development Block Grant funding for the project, and petitioners were also against the idea of borrowing $55,000 a year for five years from the Moose Pond Trust Fund to pay off $225,000 in bonding.

The Vote No crowd, however, argued that residents had already given selectmen their blessing to craft a funding package in a straw poll. Further study on the issue wasn’t needed, they said, because selectmen had already paid an engineer to study the issue. Town Hall needs to be preserved for its historic value, they said, whatever the future might hold in terms of an expanded recreational facility in town.

The second citizen’s petition, to increase residential setbacks to 750 feet for cell phone towers, fared much better, passing by the widest margin in Tuesday balloting of 644 yes to 262 no. It remains to be seen, however, whether the tower ordinance amendment will have any impact on AT&T’s Hio Ridge Road application now pending before the Bridgton Planning Board. The question did not include any retroactivity clause, and selectmen have been advised by the town attorney that attempts to block a pending cell tower application would likely not prevail in court (see related story, this paper).

 

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