Selectmen talk traffic, money, wayfinding
Rahul Anand, new owner of the former Romar bowling alley at 19 By-Way, is seeking Boothbay Harbor’s approval of a traffic plan for when the building is demolished this spring. On March 13, Knickerbocker Group Architectural Designers Randy Smith and Zander Shaw presented selectmen with the proposed traffic plan that would be put in place during the two-phase project.
Smith said, with planning board approval in April, it should take about a month to remove asbestos, add site fencing, demolish the building, and demobilize. The footprint the building leaves will be surrounded by fencing with fabric and graphics.
“We’re proposing to close off the existing By-Way sidewalk and demolish it as part of the construction. We would put up Jersey barriers and reroute pedestrian traffic from April 17 through Memorial Day,” Smith said. The waist-high barriers are tapered and made of concrete or plastic. The road’s width and vehicular traffic would remain unchanged, Smith said. Pedestrian traffic will be rerouted through eight parking spaces.
“You’re going to have a hard sell giving up those spaces,” Town Manager Tom Woodin said.
Smith said perhaps the demolished sidewalk could be re-poured after demolition, and demolished again when construction begins in September.
Fiona Dunlap, whose business the Harborside Tavern abuts 19 By-Way, discussed daily issues caused by delivery trucks in the area. “From 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., there’s a massive bottleneck,” she said. It was also mentioned that emergency vehicles face a tight squeeze.
“We plan on taking 99 percent of deliveries by redirecting them to come down to the lower parking lot. That would be our staging area and where we would take and receive all our deliveries,” Smith said. Shaw said they would try not to add to the congestion on By-Way. Smith said project construction workers will carpool or find offsite parking.
Selectmen reminded Knickerbocker representatives that pedestrian and vehicular traffic and parking are at a premium through December during the Festival of Lights, when the downtown area will be open for business.
Selectman Mike Tomko suggested a moveable fence be installed around the project. When work is done for the day, the fence could be moved closer, allowing more room for pedestrians and vehicles. Smith agreed it might be an option, and thanked the selectmen for their feedback.
Joint Economic Development Committee
Selectman Wendy Wolf had several items to report on from the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Joint Economic Development Committee (JEDC). The first focused on establishing a reconciliation system to balance the equal sharing of JEDC expenditures between the towns. Officials from both towns are working on consistency. It’s been a learning process, she said.
Wolf also said the JEDC is developing a request for proposals to hire a municipal/urban-rural planning consultant to prioritize economic development projects.
Wolf asked the selectmen to help finance a wayfinding consulting firm to provide signage specific to the environmental flavor of the Boothbay region. “It’s an assessment of the values and visions of who we are. How does the peninsula present itself in a way that projects the community?”
A wayfinding committee within the JEDC chose Gamble Design Inc. from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, due to the firm’s comprehensive view of what it would take to start the process.
Total costs for the initial stages will be $12,000. The JEDC has obtained a grant of $3,000, which will be matched by the Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor Boards of Selectmen, each of which will contribute $1,500. The remaining $6,000 will come from JEDC funds, to be divided evenly between Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor. Boothbay Harbor selectmen approved Wolf's request.
Flood level study
Portland-based Milone & MacBroom Inc. will perform a flood level study on several Boothbay Harbor businesses, Tomko announced. Last fall, the state awarded the town $2,500 toward the research. The town matched it, he said.
Twenty-nine businesses have been identified as having the potential to be affected by flooding. Placement of electrical panels, propane tanks, doors, windows and other items at possible risk will be noted. When the study is completed, Milone & MacBroom engineers will make recommendations to each business. “There is no obligation to follow the recommendations, which will be confidential. It’s more about being aware,” Tomko said. Studies will begin in April or May and reports will be produced in the fall.
In other business, Woodin announced a search for a new assistant harbor master. An ad will run in the Boothbay Register.
The board appointed David Profit to the budget committee. “I’ve known Dave for over five years. He has an outstanding record as a police officer. I’d love to have him as a budget committee member and on other committees, as well,” said Tomko. Profit’s term will begin in January 2018.
Scott Campbell and Ken Desmond will attend the March 27 meeting to discuss EMA training, Woodin announced.
The next meeting is Monday, March 27 at the town office.