Selectmen put bite into ballpark ‘No Dogs’ edict

Tue, 08/15/2023 - 8:00am

    Boothbay selectmen put some “bite” into the municipal policy prohibiting dogs inside the new Clifford Little League diamond. A “No Dogs” sign was posted in several locations around the fenced-in field at the park’s inception earlier this year. But that has not stopped some pet owners from using the field as a dog park. Public works employees recently discovered several dog droppings on the field. This resulted in selectmen stepping up their enforcement actions against future violations.

    On Aug. 9, selectmen approved an initial $250 fine against violators and $500 for second offenses. Selectmen also approved adding an undisclosed number of additional cameras to police the location. “This is ridiculous and there should be a substantial fine,” Chairman Chuck Cunningham said. 

    Selectmen also directed Town Manager Dan Bryer to place more signage prohibiting dogs along with messages informing the public about fines. The baseball diamond is now locked to keep pets out. “The ones who are being punished the most are fathers and sons who want to spend time on the field playing toss,” he said. Bryer encourages anyone who wants to use the field for recreation to stop at the town office and request a key.

    In other action, selectmen voted, 5-0, to impose a six-month moratorium on commercial solar farms. The moratorium is in response to concerns about a proposed solar farm on Route 27 which  received planning board approval. The code office received complaints about a $39,204 permit fee. The Wiscasset Road property is being leased by Grey Penn Group and Aligned Climate Capital. The property is behind Boothbay Region Railway Village. 

    The project’s estimated cost is $1,819,332. Boothbay calculates its commercial building permit fee by square feet (130,680) by 30 cents per square foot. Developers balked at the cost and sought to pay a fee more in line with other projects. The developers paid $900 for a 280-solar panel project in Topsham and $800 for a similarly sized project in Thorndike. Bryer researched what other Midcoast communities charged for commercial solar farm building permit fees. 

    “We are pretty much in line with what other coastal communities charge,” he said. Bryer reported to selectmen Wiscasset charged $200 for the first $1,000 of fair market value and $3 additional for each additional $1,000. Damariscotta charged a $30 fee plus 30 cents per square foot. 

    Selectmen decided against changing their fee structure and changed their focus to a possible moratorium. Selectman Steve Lewis did not think the Midcoast was the best spot for solar farms. He believes inland communities are better suited. "We are struggling with housing. So how many solar farms do you want here? I think we need a moratorium, and should have the planning board research how we want to move forward,” he said. 

    Selectmen renewed licenses for two applicants doing business as Boothbay Harbor Country Club and Boothbay Harbor Country Club Wellness Center. Both are owned by PGC II, LLC. The country club and wellness center had their Class I, II, III and IV restaurant liquor licenses renewed. 

    Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23 in the conference room.