Casco CEO to get harbormaster’s aid
By Dawn De Busk
CASCO — More than fifty percent of Casco Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Alex Sirois’ time is spent dealing with the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance and mooring issues.
This summer those mooring issues will be shouldered by a part-time harbormaster.
It’s a position that comes without a boat.
So, technically shoreland assistant might better describe the job than harbormaster does.
Still, funds for the position were already approved at Town Meeting in 2016.
“Last year, we were late enough in the (season) that we didn’t hire a harbormaster,” Casco Town Manager Dave Morton said. Those funds can be carried forward in the budget and the interview process should start this spring, he said.
“We are looking to engage a harbormaster to help with mooring permits,” Morton said.
Sirois has been “in the middle of a discussion with residents of Kettle Cove and Lakeshore Drive,” Morton said. “It is a disagreement about who has what (mooring) rights. People have staked out the common area as their own.”
Officials from the Town of Casco have been engaged in an “ongoing discussion with some of the leadership in the lake associations,” Morton said. “Eventually, that would be the harbormaster’s job,” he said.
On Feb. 8, Sirois provided an update on his department to the Casco Board of Selectmen
“It’s been busy the last month or so. It went from a halt to crazy busy,” Sirois said.
Building contractors and homeowners with improvement plans have been calling Siriois “asking questions, getting ready for spring.”
“It was a slow summer compared to previous years on building permits. Then, September and October were straight out with building permits,” he said.
But, it has not been overwhelming because Sirois receives a lot of assistance at the Town Office, he said. The Casco Planning Board has been quiet this winter, but that board will be active in the near future, he added.
The renewal of the contract zone agreement for P&K Sand and Gravel is coming up, he said. Also, the planning board will be reviewing the town’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinances to “get in line with state law,” Sirois said. The State of Maine has set in place required shore frontage of 200 feet for one dock, he said.
“That can get interesting on common land. That will be a discussion to have in the future with dock owners,” Sirois said.
Selectman Thomas Peaslee asked if the state will allow the use of finger docks.
“I would love for that to happen on shorefronts” as an alternative to the current situation is some areas, Sirois said. “Docks all 15 feet apart — it’s messy.”
Selectman Grant Plummer talked momentarily about the CEO’s role in the permitting process.
“You provide them with a permit. It’s a tremendous amount of work to manage that permit and go through the process,” he said.
“For a time, the CEO job has been understaffed,” Plummer said. He added that in the future when the harbormaster position is filled, he would be curious to hear how Sirois deals with the workload in his department.
“If we can keep control of that (getting behind with the CEO department’s workload), our community will be better for it,” Plummer said.