Harbor resident wants selectboards to study future education needs

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 4:00pm

    Boothbay Harbor resident Tom Perkins requested the Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor selectboards create an ad-hoc committee studying the region’s long-range educational needs. Perkins and his wife, Laura, attended the Aug. 23 Boothbay selectmen’s meeting at the urging of resident Jean Latter. Perkins is concerned current Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor student enrollments are too small for a new high school and elementary school renovation project at an estimated $89 million cost.

    The concept of a committee studying high school regionalization is not new. Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 recently formed a regionalization committee to study how a central high school may benefit  members along with Wiscasset-area communities. Tom Perkins told Boothbay selectmen he had concerns about the regionalization committee formed by AOS 98. The newly formed committee had only met a couple times since June and he did not believe it had the best interests of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor. “They’ve only met a couple of times. They twiddled their thumbs for over two months and didn’t let the public speak at either meeting,” he said. 

    Perkins is also concerned about the AOS’s regionalization committee’s leadership with the co-chairs being from Georgetown and Edgecomb. “Everybody from Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor said they were too busy to serve as chairman. I think an ad-hoc committee with selectmen, elected school officials and community members would serve us well,” he said. “I don’t want to be here four years from now wishing we did something different.”

    Boothbay selectmen agreed to contact their counterparts in Boothbay Harbor to see if they had interest in forming an ad-hoc committee. “Without Boothbay Harbor and the school, then there is no reason to do this,” Selectman Dale Harmon said.

    In other action, selectmen contracted with Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission for assistance implementing LD 2003. The new law’s implementation was scheduled for July 1 until it was pushed back until Jan. 1, 2024  to allow municipalities more time to integrate it into their ordinances.

    LD 2003 makes statewide zoning changes and land use laws at the municipal level. The new law establishes regional housing production goals and a municipal role in achieving those goals. The law imposes density and other requirements for affordable housing developments; the requirements preempt inconsistent municipal regulations. The law requires municipalities to allow up to four dwelling units on each lot where housing is allowed, depending upon the lot and whether it contains an existing dwelling. It also requires municipalities to allow accessory dwelling units in any area where housing is permitted and comply with certain accessory dwelling unit requirements. 

    For Selectman Steve Lewis, the thought of hiring LCRPC for a municipal project was peculiar. “I don’t question their ability, but they nickel and dime the towns to death when we already give them over a million dollars a year,” he said.

    Bryer explained the county planner’s consulting work was outside LCRPC’s regular operational framework. “We’re working with the county on this,” he said. “They are assisting us with obtaining a Maine Department of Economic Community Development grant which would pay for their work.”

    Selectmen unanimously approved a restaurant Class I, II, III and IV liquor license renewal for Carriage House Restaurant at 388 Ocean Point Road. 

    Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 in the municipal conference room.