Archive for ‘News’

  • Busy weeks for budget committees

    By Dawn De Busk Staff Writer NAPLES — For those who volunteer their time to local budget committees, the weeks are ticking away until Town Meeting. Really, the deadline to get a finished product before town selectmen comes sooner than that June date. The budget process is not just about crunching numbers. It requires working […]

  • QUICK TO RESPOND — Resident Mark Lopez, right, was quick to rebut concerns raised at Tuesday’s Bridgton Selectmen’s meeting that photocopied signatures on a citizens’ petition concerning the Town Hall were not valid. Studying the signatures is Selectmen Chairman Bernie King, while Town Secretary Samantha Eichols looks on. Selectmen decided to allow the signatures, and sent the petition to be decided by voters in June. The petition would freeze all spending on Town Hall repairs until the total costs are known, then require voter approval of those costs. (Geraghty Photo)

 Voters face lengthy referendum ballot June 9

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer
Bridgton Selectmen have finalized a comparatively lengthy list of referendum questions that voters will decide by secret ballot on Tuesday, June 9, the day before the Town Meeting. Several are the result of a citizens’ petition, and others are ordinance revisions by the Planning Board. What follows are summaries of each question, along with comments made at Tuesday’s Selectmen’s meeting. 
Via Citizen Petition
• Town Hall Spending — Approval of this question seeking cost estimates on both the exterior and interior of the Town Hall would freeze spending until total costs are known and approved by voters (See story, page 1) 
• Lake Region Bus Service — Submitted last December, this petition would bring the Regional Transportation Program’s bus service to Bridgton by approving a one-cent increase on the mil rate, estimated to be around $10,000. 
• Sewer Ordinance — Approval would exempt all sewer allocations bought before July 1, 2014 from any and all amendments to the Sewer Ordinance, and would allow the exempted users to pay for only the portion of their total allocation that they use. Selectmen believe passage would stymie development in the downtown by preventing the town from buying back unused allocations in order to add more users to the system. The petition was brought forward by Tom Kennedy and others who are challenging changes to the sewer ordinance. 
Via Planning Board
• Tower Ordinance — Approval would further define and clarify requirements that telecommunication towers must meet, such as distance from abutters. 
• Site Plan Review Ordinance — Approval would add a section regulating the location and operation of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.
• Sign Ordinance — Approval would further define requirements for flashing signs, among other housekeeping changes. 
• Shoreland Zoning Ordinance — Approval of revisions that ensure compliance with state requirements and other housekeeping changes. 
• Establishment of Safe Zones Ordinance — Approval would give additional definition to existing ordinance and compliance with language on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. 
Not all proposed referendum questions were approved for the June 9 ballot. Selectmen decided not to send along a proposal to make Home Run Road a town road, because as yet the Memorandum of Understanding has not been signed with the Home Run Road Abutters Group. The BRAG athletic field lies at the end of the road, which connects with Sandy Creek Road. 
The board also decided not to seek referendum approval to add $9,000 to the budget for the Bridgton Library, as was suggested at the last meeting by Selectman Bob McHatton. Instead, the $9,000 will be added to the Bridgton Library budget as a line item in the budget that voters will decide at the Town Meeting on Wednesday, June 10.

    Concerns raised over copied petition signatures

    By Gail Geraghty Staff Writer Resident Mark Lopez was on his feet Tuesday before Bridgton Selectmen could even begin considering whether photocopied signatures rendered a Town Hall citizens’ petition invalid. When it came time Tuesday for the board to order the petition’s placement for a referendum vote in June, Chairman Bernie King said an issue […]

  • Bus service budget needs towns’ aid

    By Dawn De Busk Staff Writer NAPLES — For years, it was simply a concept on paper: A bus that served the rural towns in the Lake Region and provided residents with a connection to Portland and the destinations in-between. For almost 18 months, the Lake Region bus has been a reality — rolling down […]

  • BALANCING BEAUTY & SAFETY — State transportation officials say guardrail treatments like the one pictured at Mt. Desert best balances driver safety while not degrading natural beauty. A similar guardrail treatment will replace the granite stones along the Moose Pond Causeway when a portion of Route 302 in Bridgton is repaved this spring or summer.

    Stone blocks insufficient for Causeway safety, MDOT rules

    By Gail Geraghty Staff Writer Guardrails will replace the granite stones on each side of the Moose Pond Causeway, despite concerns that the Causeway’s aesthetic beauty will suffer as a result. Bridgton Selectmen had hoped to convince the Maine Department of Transportation to grant an exception to its design criteria and allow the stones to […]

  • A fast-moving fire destroyed an old home at 485 Maple Ridge Road, near Haskell Hill Road.

    Fire destroys Maple Ridge home

    HARRISON — Firefighters from at least a half-dozen towns spent much of their time battling grass fires Tuesday after arriving at the scene of a structure fire at 485 Maple Ridge Road. That’s because the 19th-century house and barn was fully-engulfed in flames by the time water could be brought to the scene via a […]

  • Naples eyes ways to up Independence Day

    By Dawn De Busk Staff Writer NAPLES — There is the “Big Bang Theory.” Then, there is the belief that a bigger bang will draw an even larger crowd during the Fourth of July festivities. Longtime resident and selectman Kevin Rogers recently recalled how, when he was growing up, Naples was the destination spot on […]

  • Donors, grants to spruce up Graustein Park

    By Emily Butterfield Contributing Writer FRYEBURG — Graustein Park will be receiving new playground equipment due to the generous donations and grants awarded, thanks to the help of Dick Krasker, but not everyone is pleased with how the equipment was chosen. Jennifer Regan of the Parks Committee voiced her displeasure at what she felt was […]

  • Office option goes to Casco polls

    By Dawn De Busk Staff Writer CASCO — Through the citizens’ petition process, the voters will be given another option for the future Casco Town Hall during June’s election. The petition, which was being circulated by former selectman Ray Grant, was submitted this week, and it had the required number of signatures from registered voters, […]

  • LACK OF RESPONSE to concerns about the “fit” of Denmark Town Manager Dan Merhalski with Denmark residents have led to a petition of recall against two of the three selectmen.

    Petition seeks to recall two Denmark selectmen

    By Gail Geraghty Staff Writer A petition for recall was submitted Tuesday to the Denmark Town Office as the first step by some residents to force the ouster of Denmark Town Manager Dan Merhalski. The petitioners are upset that Selectmen Richard Mason, Beverly Caparco and Ed Enos did not respond to a earlier petition, submitted […]

  • TIRELESS HELPER — Anne Krieg, Bridgton’s Director of Planning, Dconomic and Community Development, passed out copies of Casco Bay Engineering’s proposal to inspect the interior of Town Hall, which has not yet been done. Selectmen agreed to have the firm do the interior analysis, and also voted to put the exterior Phase I work out to bid.

(Geraghty Photo)

    Selectmen move Bridgton Town Hall project forward

    By Gail Geraghty Staff Writer Believing strongly in the need to “move the process along,” Bridgton Selectmen on Tuesday voted 5–0 to spend up to $11,000 to have Casco Bay Engineering inspect the interior of the Town Hall. At the same time, bids will be sought for Phase I stabilization work on the exterior. The […]