Boothbay Harbor selectmen and Blake’s Boatyard received some pushback from McKown Point Road residents Jan. 10 for runway and float work. The application for a new 40’x4’ runway, 10’x40’ float and new 40’x6’ float at the 118 McKown Point Road business concerned residents not notified of the project because their properties do not abut it.
Blake’s representative Lauren Stockwell said the changes provide extra tie-up space for the business's skiffs, which have always been tied up alongside customers' skiffs. The changes will not accommodate extra traffic in the form of larger vessels, she said.
McKown Point Road resident Lee Corbin said marine traffic in the cove deeply impacts her and other neighbors and not being informed is a concern. Corbin said one neighbor closer to Blakes' property did not receive notice, but another property owner, further from Blake’s and also not an abutter, did. “It seems to me that notice is very haphazard ... My big question is the navigation and the impact of what's going to happen in the summertime. There is going to be increased traffic. Everyone from Blake’s goes within 15 to 20 feet from my dock ... We are all living in very tight quarters in this cove, here, and I am concerned about the increased traffic.”
Town Manager Julia Latter said former harbormaster Nick Upham felt the new configuration would not impact harbor navigation. Without a current harbormaster, there is no formal report, but a report is only to inform selectmen on their decision and is not mandatory. “He said the only impact on navigational waters was to themselves, but not to abutters.”
Blake’s owner Amy Goodwin said the float will be in about three feet of water and its only purpose is to accommodate the company's skiffs. “There's no more moorings being rented or slips being rented, it's more or less to get our workboats out of the way so that when our crew is going down with tools and equipment, they have a separate space and separate runway to go down to.”
Juniper Point Village Improvement Society President Susan Schadler said she only heard about the hearing the morning of Jan. 10 and though she is not an abutter and the project does not impact her, she was concerned not all who would be impacted, abutter or not, have been notified. Schadler said she was inquiring about the process in case any of her JPVIS members make a complaint about the work.
Stockwell said Maine Department of Environmental Protection requires abutters, properties next to or across the road from the applicant, to be informed. Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Smith told Latter in a text that the town defines “abutter” the same way as DEP and includes properties within 500 feet on the water.
In Selectman Denise Griffin’s absence, the board approved Blake’s application unanimously.
Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission Planner Emily Rabbe presented selectmen with the county’s hazard mitigation plan which has been in the works over the last year and a half in coordination with the Lincoln County, Maine and Federal Emergency Management agencies. FEMA requires updates every five years on the entire report including introduction, prerequisites, planning process, risk assessment, mitigation strategies and plan maintenance procedures, she said.
“The biggest changes from 2016 to 2021 are in the risk assessment and mitigation strategies sections ... Those hazards are flooding, winter storms, summer storms, wildfire, drought which we added in 2021 and pandemic which we added in 2021.”
The risk assessment includes county and municipal analysis of past storm events, location and extent of the hazard, the probability of occurrence, vulnerability assessment and estimate of potential losses in any event. Rabbe said to be eligible for FEMA grants, towns must adopt a county hazard mitigation plan. “So, it's really in Boothbay Harbor's best interest to adopt the 2021 update. The plan has been approved by FEMA, so we now have a year to get all towns in the county to adopt the plan.”
Selectmen unanimously approved the plan which now leaves six towns for LCRPC to get onboard.
Latter said nomination papers will be available Jan. 26 for two selectmen, one Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District committee member, one CSD trustee, one Boothbay Region Water District trustee and one BB-BBH Cemetery District trustee. All terms are three years. Papers are due to Town Clerk Michelle Farnham at the town office by 4:30 p.m. March 2. Voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 6. The annual town meeting is at 9 a.m. May 7 at Boothbay Region Elementary School.