Casco reviews Point Sebago contract

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The representatives from Point Sebago Resort and the Casco Board of Selectmen embarked on another round of discussions, trying to come to a compromise on the Contract Zone Agreement extension.

Once again, stubbornness prevailed.

Tuesday night’s standoff centered on the timespan for a temporary extension.

During its meeting earlier this month, the Casco Planning Board had drawn the line in the proverbial sand: A one-year extension during which time Point Sebago Resort provides to the town assessments on its drinking water and septic systems, its groundwater runoff, and its fire suppression systems.

The town is asking for information about the status of those items, not that they be upgraded immediately.

This week, Point Sebago’s attorney, Tim Keiter, submitted a three-year extension of the contract, claiming that one year was not enough time for the company to comply with the town’s requirements — requests he said should not be included in a contract zone agreement.

As the Casco Board of Selectmen reviewed the document before them, Selectman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes said she wanted to first address the time frame.

“I want to go with one year. That is what the planning board wanted — one year,” she said.

Keiter said he had talked to the town’s lawyer about the length of extension before drafting the latest proposed agreement.

“Natalie Burns and I have been friends for years. We had a great conversation,” he said, adding that they “agreed on the concept” of the extension.

“She said the town won’t move from the one-year (extension). There was nothing to negotiate,” he said.

Keiter continued.

“We want to be good citizens. We want to continue our relationship with the town. But, we are kind of stuck,” he said.

“Rather than one year, we asked for three years,” he said.

“Just so you understand, there are numerous other requirements we expect the town to ask for next time,” he said.

With the passage of a one-year extension, there would not be enough time for Point Sebago management to complete everything for which the planning board has asked, Keiter said.

Not only did the most recent proposed amendment to the contract zone agreement ask for a three-year extension instead of one as requested via a planning board vote but, also, the campground had been omitted from the proposal.

Chairman Grant Plummer said those are items that involve public safety and ecological conservation.

It should be noted that Point Sebago management has stated it is in the process of addressing the three items of concern.

“All of these items are about the state of the state,” Plummer said.

“To exclude the wastewater treatment around the campground — come on you guys. I don’t know how many times we have addressed it as an entirety, and you’re pulling stuff out of it.

“It doesn’t pass the straight face test,” Plummer said.

Keiter disagreed on principal.

“There is nothing in the contract zone that requires this. We are doing a bunch of stuff we aren’t required to do. We need communication. We cannot have a stone wall,” he said.

Later, it was clarified that the one-year extension would last until October 2016, giving Point Sebago more than a year, rather than months to get assessments together.

A planning board meeting is scheduled for Monday. In the meantime, the town attorney will meet with Keiter to re-draft the proposed amendment.

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