Knight named new Bridgton Community Development director

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Audrey Knight hoped to move back East to the summer home she so enjoyed.

Then, she saw an advertisement — the Town of Bridgton was looking for a Community Development Director — that would make the move back to the old family farm in Harrison a reality.

She applied and, Tuesday night, Knight landed the job.

Without any discussion or debate, selectmen confirmed Knight by a 5–0 vote. She is scheduled to meet with Bridgton Town Manager Bob Peabody today, Thursday, and will likely begin the new job sometime in July.

“Her depth of experience in all aspects of planning is what we were looking for,” Peabody said. “She is very enthusiastic about coming here and is excited about all of the things that are going on in Bridgton.”

When selectmen turned down the first CDD nominee by a 3-2 vote, Peabody readvertised the position through a multiple of media outlets. Nineteen people submitted applications, and two were interviewed.

Knight has served in a wide variety of planning capacities from conducting planning, zoning and demographic research for water and wastewater in Virginia, to being a senior advisor implementing code revisions and land use, corridor and neighborhood plans in Kansas City, to acting as a regional and senior planner in San Francisco and Ukaih in California.

Her academic resume includes a bachelor’s of arts in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park and a master’s of Urban and Regional Planning from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

She furthered her education with graduate and undergraduate study and lecture course work in areas of environmental design and planning, information management and neighborhood planning, quantitative methods for urban planning and legal aspects of planning practice (to name just a few) at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

In other business,

Salmon Point leases going up. Selectmen approved a 3 percent increase in lease fees at Salmon Point Campground, and supported the 2017–18 budget proposed by the town manager.

The town manager’s recommendation to convert six tent sites into three leased sites was also approved.

“These tent sites are in a prime location and, if you are going to run the campground as a business, creating RV sites is a better way to utilize the sites and maximize your profits,” Peabody said. “We do have a waiting list. One site recently opened, and it has already been filled.”

A new tent site location will be developed.

As for the campground budget, Peabody projects that with site rentals ($139,884), visitor and boat fees, the estimated revenue will be $148,384. With expenses projected at $136,604 ($30,000 is moved to the Rec Fund to offset the cost of the Rec Department), the town’s profit will be $11,780.

Selectman Bob Murphy questioned whether the town should be in the campground business, and wondered if the town would benefit more if the campground portion of the property was sold and then the town would be in position to collect taxes.

When Board chairman Greg Watkins asked the town manager to provide selectmen with a past study regarding the campground for review, Selectman Bob McHatton questioned whether Watkins had an inkling about selling. Watkins answered, “No.”

Murphy voted against the campground budget.

The Salmon Point Campground budget is an “enterprise fund,” which places total control with selectmen.

House demolition nears completion. Although Ben Guiliani Sr. still wonders why his entire Willis Park Road home was deemed a “dangerous building” and questions why the town sought its demolition, he has complied, almost.

Because of a notification mistake, the town had to start over from square one in the process in deeming the structure “dangerous,” holding a public hearing Tuesday night.

Code Enforcement Officer Rob Baker informed selectmen that Guiliani had completed 95 percent of the demolition and that only a partial wall and decking remained. Wood debris had been burned and materials such as plastics and metals were hauled off to ecomaine.

“He’s been working pretty hard, and we’re headed in the right direction,” Baker said.

When asked by chairman Watkins how much more time would he need to complete the project, Guiliani requested six weeks. Guiliani explained that he had taken time off from his business to tackle the project, and has since fallen behind at work.

“I need to make money so I can finish this project,” he said. “I give you my word, I will get it done.”

Baker felt Guiliani’s request was reasonable, especially considering the gains that had been made. Selectmen agreed, giving Guiliani 45 days to complete the project.

“Thank you for your patience,” Guiliani told selectmen.

No response. Selectman Bear Zaidman asked whether Maine Department of Transportation officials have conducted a study regarding placing a traffic light at the intersection of Sandy Creek Road and Route 302? Peabody has yet to hear back from MDOT, to which Zaidman instructed the town manager to make a call or send a letter.

On another front, Selectman Murphy pointed out that MDOT had resurfaced Route 302 by the Moose Pond Causeway, eliminating the rumble strip there.

Property owners had multiple discussions with MDOT regarding noise pollution created by the rumble strip, and requested it either be modified or removed. Selectmen backed the residents, and sent a letter to MDOT.

Summer project. Teaming up with Lakes Environmental Association, the town has entered into a “partnership,” bringing on a summer intern to electronically map various roadways.

The computer program will catalog a wide range of data regarding the roadways, including culvert location and size and stream crossings. Two interns — one from the town and one from LEA — will work on the project.

Paving projects. As requested at town meeting, Public Works Director Jim Kidder gave selectmen an update regarding paving projects. The “major” project will be to prep Burnham Road for paving next year.

Meanwhile, the town will try to “shim and overlay” as many roads as possible. That account picked up extra dollars when selectmen carried forward unused paving revenue into this year’s paving line.

Kidder also plans to talk to Bridgton Water Department officials regarding what water line work is being scheduled in West Bridgton. He wants to avoid paving in areas that BWD plans to dig up.

Camp scholarship donation. Jeff Frey donated his compensation ($1,575) for serving as clerk of the works for the recent Town Hall renovation project to fund scholarships for Bridgton Recreation Department’s Summer Camp. The value of the scholarship is $525, and Frey offered to fund an additional scholarship, thus making it possible for four children to attend the camp.

Selectman Zaidman requested that a “thank you” letter be sent to Frey for his generous donation.

Plenty of ice cream choices. The local ice cream market continues to grow. Selectmen approved victualer licenses to ice cream trucks — Robyn’s Ice Cream, operated by Robyn Parlin of Portland and North East Ice Cream, operated by Jerry Sterritt of Exeter, N.H.

Selectmen renewed a victualer license for Blizzards Pub at Shawnee Peak.

Smith appointed. Tom Smith was reappointed to the Opportunity Alliance’s Board of Directors for a three-year term.

Smith told selectmen that the Alliance is comprised of 50 community-based and clinical programs that include early childhood education and childcare, nutrition programming, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and crisis services.

His expertise is making old buildings more energy-efficient. That skill set will be used at the Headstart facility on Meadow Street, where $60 to $80,000 will be used to improve the structure, as well as create more parking space. Smith has pushed for the use of local contractors on this project.

Board leaders. Greg Watkins was re-elected as board chairman, while Bear Zaidman was selected as vice chairman.

Next meeting: The next selectmen’s meeting will be Tuesday, July 11 at 5 p.m.

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