Housing considered for Salmon Point campground manager

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

When Bridgton has needed to hire someone to manage Salmon Point Campground for the season, it has been “challenging” due to the lack of housing.

Current manager Bob Morse had his own RV to park at the town-owned campground on Long Lake.

If Bridgton requires the manager to be on-site, Town Manager Bob Peabody suggests that the town provide housing. He recommended to selectmen Tuesday night to either consider buying a “used” RV unit or build a small structure that could serve as an office and housing space for the campground manager.

Deputy Town Manager Georgiann Fleck researched the options and reported her findings to selectmen:

  • Log cabin construction would be $60 to $65 per square foot, ultimately costing $28,000. A stick-built structure would cost about $35 to $45 per square foot, totaling $19,400. Neither cost figures include finish, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning or furnishings.
  • Checking in at Lee Family Trailer in Windham, a “residence style” unit between 36 and 48 feet in length would cost between $40,000 to $65,000.
  • A used “park model” unit with a pitched, shingled roof and all furnishings range from $24 to $50,000. And, there are additional costs for transporting it here and setup. New models, as quoted by a company in Oxford, would cost between $40,000 to $50,000.
  • Or, the town could purchase a used Breckinridge model for $22,900, which includes all appliances.

“It’s more like a mobile home, but the square footage and because it’s on wheels, it is considered an RV,” Morse said. “It was bought brand new, and it still looks that way.”

Morse has seen the 2003 unit and talked with its owner, who may be willing to negotiate the asking price.

Selectman Bob McHatton wondered if the town could land a better price during the “off-season?” since the town wouldn’t need the unit until April.

Since the unit is 14 years old, Selectman Bear Zaidman questioned what condition the roof may be in. While Morse thought the roof looked solid, selectmen instructed Peabody to have someone with structural knowledge to evaluate the unit and negotiate the best possible price. Funding will come from the Salmon Point Unassigned Fund (balance as of June 30, 2016 audit — $247,497).

“We will do our due diligence,” Peabody said. “We will have someone check it out.”

In other selectmen’s business:

Fixing wayfinding signs. Nelle Ely is willing to repair and reseal damaged wayfinding signs caused by ice damage.

Selectman Bob McHatton and Town Manager Peabody recently met with artist/sign maker Ely regarding the condition of several signs.

Public Works will remove a certain number of damaged signs at one time, then allow Ely to fix or replace them. The town would then reinstall the signs.

McHatton added that the tops of the signs would be sanded to eliminate the current flat surface with the hope that water will “roll off” and not remain on the wood.

Board Chairman Greg Watkins asked that terms of the agreement between Ely and the town be put in writing, so “there are no questions or misunderstandings.”

Peabody noted work would be “done in a timely fashion” and “done to our satisfaction.”

Need to educate voters. If Bridgton is going to embark on a “branding” program to promote the town as a great place to live and operate a business, Community Development Advisory Committee chairman Chuck Renneker says infrastructure improvements must be made.

Those improvements include upgrading the town’s sewer system and enacting a Land Use ordinance.

“The sewer system has no more capacity. We need a system that fosters job opportunities and business growth,” Renneker said.

Renneker supports hiring an outside agency to conduct a public awareness campaign regarding the proposed Land Use and Wastewater Ordinances.

“The public needs to be aware of these issues and what it means to the town,” he added.

Selectman Bob McHatton again declared his opposition to the proposed Land Use ordinance, which drew the ire of Renneker and Bill Vincent (see letter on Page 1D), both members of the Land Use Advisory Committee.

While McHatton said that since Route 302 runs through Bridgton, growth is inevitable. Renneker countered that regulations can “manage” growth and manage building appearances, such as where parking is located. As a final comment before selectmen moved on to other business, Renneker felt it was inappropriate for McHatton to use his position as a selectman to continually express his opposition to the Land Use Ordinance during board meetings.

Chairman Watkins halted the debate, saying board discussion was solely on how to educate voters about the ordinances, not where people stood on the issues.

Selectman Zaidman feels an education campaign is essential to be sure residents understand “what they are voting on” and clear up any misconceptions that might exist.

Watkins suggested selectmen hold off making any decisions until having a conversation with new Community Development Director Audrey Knight, who was not in attendance Monday evening.

Thomas resigns. Set to leave the area, Brian Thomas, on July 12, submitted his resignation as a member of the Bridgton Planning Board.

PB Chairman Steve Collins informed selectmen of the resignation, and noted that the board could either appoint someone to replace Thomas until next June’s town meeting or simply allow planners to utilize its alternates to fill the void.

Planning Board member Deb Brusini explained that alternates usually attend all planning meetings and can offer their opinions and ask questions regarding proposed projects — they simply don’t vote. The plan would be to alternate the alternates — Cathy Pinkham and Ken Gibbs — as a voting member.

Selectman Zaidman questioned if it was a good idea to alternate back and forth if planners were involved in considering a major project.

Selectman Fred Packard served on the Planning Board for 21 years, and said similar circumstances occurred a few times during this stint. He felt the alternate serving as a voting replacement “worked well” and “never seemed to cause a problem.”

“The board was a pretty cohesive,” he added.

Selectmen took no action, thus siding with Chairman Collins’ recommendation.

Stones for sale. Stones that once lined the Moose Pond Causeway could become benches.

Since the stones, which acted as barriers along Route 302, were removed as part of Maine Department of Transportation road upgrades in West Bridgton, they have been placed in storage at Bridgton Public Works. PW Director Jim Kidder said some stones have been used as part of culvert work.

Town Manager Bob Peabody has received three letters regarding the possible sale of some stones. Peabody thought the town had 26 stones, but others think that number could be higher. One individual’s grandfather had set the stones and, as a memorial to him, the letter writer would like to have a bench created.

Kidder said he has equipment that can split the stones to create benches or posts. Selectman Bob McHatton suggested that the town keep some stones to create benches to accompany checkerboards to be placed in Shorey Park.

“Those would be quick games because you can’t sit down,” Kidder joked.

Selectmen decided to let Peabody and Kidder determine a reasonable price for the stones and actually how many the town will sell off to the public.

Island still closed. Heavy damage to Sabattis Island caused by the July 1 tornado has kept the site closed to the public. Public Works Director Jim Kidder recently met with a registered forester to assess the damage. During the review, it was found that “much of the timber, along with the storm damage, is infested with the needle cast worm.”

It was recommended that Kidder contact the Maine Division of Parks and Recreation to conduct an overall evaluation of the island before reopening it to the public. At this time, the island remains closed.

Jones promoted. Bridgton Police Department patrolman Phil Jones has a new name badge. It reads, “Sgt. Phil Jones.”

A 10-plus year veteran of the BPD, Officer Jones was promoted to sergeant on July 1. Having a second sergeant on the force allows for “better accountability as there is a sergeant scheduled every day of the week,” said Deputy Town Manager Georgiann Fleck in her report to selectmen.

Sgt. Jones has a bachelor’s degree and has earned numerous certifications in special investigations.

More office space created. Newly-created downstairs office space has been completed for Fire Chief Stephen Fay, as well as the Civil Emergency Preparedness director (Todd Perreault) and the Wastewater superintendent. There is also a small conference room. Electrical, computer and phone hookups are scheduled for the end of this week, at which time the offices can be occupied.

Out to be refurbished. Bridgton Fire will be down one engine until next month. Engine 5 is currently at Northeast Emergency Apparatus for a body refurbishment. An Aug. 11 completion date is expected. The truck will then be sent for graphics, lettering and numbering.

Fine reduction rejected. A deal is apparently a deal. Recently, the town and the estate of Robert Johnson reached a consent agreement regarding a Shoreland Zoning violation at 17 Santa Claus Lane. The agreement included a $3,500 fine, which has been paid.

Kristen McHugh, a personal representative of the Johnson Estate, requested the town to reduce the fine to either $1,500 or $2,000.

In a memo, Code Enforcement Officer Rob Baker told selectmen that the agreement “is final and binding,” and he had no opinion change regarding the fine levied.

“It’s not a matter the board (selectmen) can take action on,” Chairman Watkins said.

No action was taken, and the fine stands.

It’s a market, not a place for religion? Selectman Bob Murphy says the Farmers Market is a place to sell food and other wares, not religion.

Murphy said some market vendors were upset when a church group set up a tent there recently.

“They didn’t pay for a license,” Murphy said, “and shouldn’t be there.”

Amusement permit granted. With no comments during a public hearing regarding a request for a special amusement permit by Standard Gastropub (on Main Street), selectmen voted 5–0 to issue the permit.

Entertainment will include live bands and comedy acts until 11 p.m.

Outgrowing the Transfer Station? When Selectman Bear Zaidman saw traffic backed up outside of the transfer station and town workers and machinery barely keeping up with the onslaught of trash disposal after the Fourth of July, he wondered if Bridgton is outgrowing the current facility?

Zaidman asked the town manager to start researching whether the current facility can meet needs in wake of business and residential expansion that has already occurred and new construction that is in the pipeline.

Next meeting: The selectmen’s next meeting is set for Aug. 8 at 5 p.m.

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