Point Sebago agrees to one-year extension

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — When Point Sebago representatives came before the Casco Planning Board on Monday, the word “deal breaker” came up several times.

In the end, Point Sebago and the board came to a compromise — a one-year renewal of the contract zone agreement instead of the 10-year extension for which the company has asked. Also, the renewal language would state more work would be done to present the board with a specific plan that addresses not only how many homes will be built, but fire suppression systems and emergency vehicle access.

The concerns expressed by Point Sebago Assistant General Manager Cliff Bartlett were how the requests made by the planning board could be met, and how those requests would affect homeowners. Numerous times, he said, the planning board’s list put the company in an “uncertain” situation and created “uncertainties” for management.

“Our attorney recommended we stay with the original language of request as written. He feels that it is not appropriate that these items be taken with the renewal,” Bartlett said.

Town Planner Jim Seymour’s “language suggests we change language from 1992 to current. That would be a deal breaker for us. If the current rules apply, I’m not sure that we could develop land around the” 10th hole, Bartlett said.

But, it was the lawyer’s words in a memorandum that threatened to put a halt to the contract zone agreement that was made with the Town of Casco 23 years ago.

Board member Stan Buchanan said he did not appreciate the harshness of the language from Point Sebago’s attorney.

“The renewal of the contract without strings attached: To me, that is sending out the wrong message,” he said.

“These are things that over the 10-year period have changed. Many things have changed that are not within our control,” Buchanan said, citing the Department of Environmental Protection’s rules and updated federal regulations.

“These weren’t covered in the most recent renewal. The lawyer thinks these are not within the contract,” he said, adding that the protection of land and water resources should be taken into consideration with this contract zone agreement.

Later, Buchanan and other board members said the requests were no different than what would be asked of any Casco resident who develops their property.

“The frustration is we didn’t expect this list.

It is not going to happen overnight,” Bartlett said.

That seemed to be the consensus — not enough time to put together the details of a 10-year contract zone agreement before Town Meeting in June.

It was Town Planner Seymour who suggested the idea of giving Point Sebago a one-year extension on its contract zone agreement with the town. This would allow more time for Point Sebago to provide specific details about the future development that would be part of a 10-year contract agreement.

Also, Point Sebago would have to address ways to remedy issues like making certain roads are wide enough for emergency vehicles, among other requests brought forward by the board.

Seymour suggested that Bartlett meet with Casco Fire Chief Jason Moen, and inspect the width of the roads, and indicate which ones are wide enough for emergency vehicles and which ones might need to be improved.

Seymour also said that the one-year extension would give the company an opportunity to decide on timelines to address issues brought up by the board. He agreed with Bartlett that it was not a task to be completed overnight.

“I think the misconception is that all this has to be done now. The thing is to have that language in there, for later development,” Seymour said.

“The priorities are life and safety: Living space definition and fire suppression. All those things don’t have to be done right away. This has to be worded into language so that the town has safeguards,” Seymour said.

The next Casco Planning Board meeting is Monday, March 9, starting at 7 p.m.

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