Naples ordinance board meets in January

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — This summer, the public as well as public officials expressed concerns about the Naples’ Sign Ordinance.

In fact, shortly after Labor Day, the Naples Ordinance Review Committee seemed set to convene and consider the clarity of the Sign Ordinance. That did not happen at that time.

Other town ordinances — besides the often controversial Sign Ordinance — have been identified as needing to be simplified to become more user-friendly.

This winter, the Ordinance Review Committee will have some specific objectives. The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 9 a.m. at the Naples Town Hall.

Earlier this year, Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak said that staff was compiling ordinances that have stumped or confused residents.

The committee will not be making changes to the meaning of any ordinance. Instead, its job will be to find language to make the ordinance clearer for the public.

Any new ordinance must be approved by residents at a Town Meeting.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen voted to put on the committee’s plate the review of two new ordinances that were generated by the fire department.

According to Paraschak, one of the proposed ordinances falls under the category of fire prevention. If passed, it would require the installation of fire suppression sprinklers in newly-built commercial structures of a certain size, he said.

In an unrelated matter, the board on Monday discussed the possibility of pursuing grant money to pay for an electric car charging station.

The board voted, 3-1, to direct the town manager to look into a specific grant offered through Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) that would pay for a car charging station and the installation of the charger.

Selectman Rich Cebra voted in opposition.

The purchase price and installation cost of an electric car charging station would be covered by the GPCOG grant, Paraschak said. “There is the cost of the electricity,” he said.

Selectman Dana Watson asked if the town could keep track of how often the charging station is used.

“We may be able to track that,” Paraschak said. “I suspect that with the group that uses the electric cars — if we put up a sign-in sheet, we could get people to fill it out,” he said.

Christine Powers said she was on board with his idea.

“We can track it, and look for other grant opportunities,” she said.

Selectman Watson said tracking the usage would be a good tool for the town.

One concern for some selectmen was the unpredictability of the electric bill.

Compared to the electricity consumption of town-operated buildings and outdoor lighting, the amount of electricity used at the charging station “won’t be much,” Paraschak said.

“There is no way to gauge how popular it will be,” he said.

Resident Roger Clement asked if there was a way to estimate the increase in the town’s electric bills.

Paraschak answered that according to GPCOG, it costs 84 cents an hour.

“If someone plugged in all day, it would run up our bill,” he said.

It was mentioned that the location for the future charging station was a place with high visibility. The selected spot is the parking spaces by the old brick building, formerly a town hall and now an antique glass museum, in the Village Green.

In addressing another agenda item, one Naples resident knows that real running requires calories not a rechargeable battery. The selectmen decided to waive the fees for the 5K Dempsey Challenge on the Causeway, organized locally by George Vooris.

“It went very well this year and I am going to do it again,” Vooris said.

Paraschak agreed.

“It did go well. He involved a lot of organizations,” he said.

“The board has the ability to waive the fee for using the Causeway,” he said.

Vooris said the 5K, held for the first time in August, raised a total of $8,500.

Of the money raised from registration fees, $6,000 went to the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing. The local food pantry received $1,000; and other area organizations benefited from the fundraising.

“It was great watching them running up Route 114. It was hard to believe that it was the first year. Everything went so smoothly,” Chairman Bob Caron II said.

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