Boothbay Harbor selectmen voted unanimously Nov. 25 to table a wharves and weirs application from PGC8 LLC at 49 Atlantic Ave. due to an incomplete application. Chair Mike Tomko said legal counsel advised the board not to review the application which needed an abutting property owner’s letter of consent; a language change to another letter of consent; and a letter from the abutter’s lender.
Tomko read from a copy of town lawyer John Cunningham’s email. “The lender is technically not a lien owner, it is an owner of the property – we must count this lender as an owner for the purpose of this application … Of the three consents that are required, we have so far received no consent from Judith L. Haynes and no consent from First Federal … Mr. Haynes does not object to the project, but that's not the same as saying he consents to the project.”
The applicant's attorney, Joanna Tourangeau, said she did not receive any correspondence from Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Smith about the town attorney's opinion the application was incomplete. Tourangeau cited the town’s Wharves and Weirs Act which identifies owners as those listed in the tax assessing information.
“… If you use the interpretation that attorney Cunningham provided in the context of abutting owners and property owners in town, for every application and for every action that this board hears, you would have to notify every lien holder and every mortgagor of property which, in my 20 years, has never been done with any town I've worked with.”
Tourangeau said the letter Haynes provided should be considered not only as acceptable for both him and his wife, but the language in the letter – “we do not oppose …” – should be understood as “we consent” because they are similar enough to constitute consent.
The application included reviews by Maine's Bureau of Parks and Lands, Department of Environmental Protection, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, noted Tourangeau; and when PGC8 LLC decided to delay the review at the last meeting, Haynes' letter of consent was already on file.
Tomko said that to his knowledge, selectmen have never had an application in which a proposed action from one property owner exists in the waterfront of another property. Selectman Wendy Wolf said that, with a difference in opinion between attorneys, the board should meet again with its attorney to consider those differences before reviewing the application.
Melissa Neel, representative of PGC8 LLC, said she also did not receive notice for postponing the review due to incompleteness of the application. “Sometimes we run into so many roadblocks and we're really trying to work with you all. I know that you all are trying to do the same for us, so when we tell you how frustrated we can be, it's just because it's always something.”
Said Tomko, “I feel badly about this. I thought we were on a different track which apparently we were not.”
The project reconfigures a float arrangement at Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort. The installations include an 8' x 100’ float, two 8’ x 80’ floats, one 8’ x 90’ float and one 8’ x 20’ float. Floats would be secured with five three-piling dolphins.
Route 27 sidewalk
Selectmen discussed the Route 27 sidewalk project to connect the Boothbay Region schools and YMCA in Boothbay Harbor to the roundabout in Boothbay. Wolf recapped the project's recent roadblocks of high bids and Maine Department of Transportation delays before announcing a recent meeting with MDOT ended with a possible plan to begin the first two phases in November 2020.
The first phase will install the infrastructure and bring the sidewalk up to Pinkham's Gourmet Market, said Wolf. The second phase will bring the rest of the sidewalk through to the roundabout.
Selectman Ken Fitch said though the project is a great idea, the board should consider that since no ground has been gained and the costs to build are going up, the town should perhaps think about identifying other areas in town in need of improved access and walkability. Wolf said abandoning the project takes a $660,000 grant from MDOT off the table and that despite being years on hold, the project is still considered by MDOT to be of the highest priority.
“If we don't build a sidewalk, we don't get any of that money, period,” said Wolf. She added that MDOT has already done several studies and cost analyses, “all of that work to do the right of way and the purchase cost about $80,000. If we do not do the sidewalk, the towns are on the hook to pay the MDOT reimbursement costs …”
Boothbay Region TV has bought the equipment for live video in the town office meeting room, said Town Manager Julia Latter. BRTV expects the hardware to arrive in early January.
The board tabled nominating a member to Boothbay Region Ambulance Service until the board can meet with a representative from the BRAS board to determine the need for a municipal presence in the nonprofit's activities.
Selectmen accepted David Racicot's resignation as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals and then put him back on the board as a voting member.
The town office will be closed Nov. 28 and 29 in observance of Thanksgiving.