The Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort was met with an upset audience at the Monday, Nov. 13 board of selectmen meeting. The resort, at 35, 37 and 41 Atlantic Ave., proposed extending the south float from 82 feet to 112 feet. Representing the resort was Melissa Neel, joined by Lauren Stockwell of Stockwell Environmental Consulting.
“Jim Perkins does appear to still object to the expansion of the dock,” board chair Wendy Wolf said about the resort's abutter. “Even though it was found that it would not impede his access, I think the findings were that it would alter the way that he comes in to his docking area. (He) is still registering that he is not happy with this.”
Selectman Denise Griffin expressed concerns over channel safety and over the general need for the resort to extend the dock, while Wolf spoke about the ordinance.
“Under the ordinance, one of the requirements is the facility should be no larger in dimension than necessary to carry out the activity and be consistent with surrounding character and uses of the area,'” said Wolf. “And the response was that, this summer, there were several occasions where Oceanside had to turn away vessels between 100 and 112 feet in length, longer than 98 feet, the size of the next float.”
Wolf then reminded the resort that when the dock was approved, the select board said it would consider looking at an additional 30 feet to the existing 80 feet should need arise. But Wolf said “several occasions” does not indicate a need.
“Show us the need and we can revisit the extra 30 feet,” said Wolf.
Comments from the public reflected a disdain for larger boats populating the harbor as well as safety concerns. Bob McKay suggested a future master plan for the harbor while Dave Racicot mentioned his concern of a 110-foot sailboat trying to make a turn in the 75-foot channel.
“There are six moorings out in the harbor that belong to Paul Coulombe that aren't used at all, all summer long,” said Jean McKay. “They don't have to bring big boats in to dock.”
After some back and forth discussion, board member Russ Hoffman made a motion to accept the application as is. There was a collective gasp from the audience. Selectman Mike Tomko seconded the motion, saying he was doing it purely for discussion. Hoffman’s motion lost 4-1.
As further discussion emerged on what that meant for the application — whether or not a formal denial meant the application was dead — Neel spoke up.
“I want to withdraw the application at this point,” Neel said.
“Alright ... That is under your purview,” said Wolf.
Wolf suggested to Neel that when the resort applies for a future application, it should take into consideration the feedback and concerns that have come from both the public and the select board.
Also seeking extra floats and pilings Nov. 13 was Tom Philbrick, owner of the Boothbay Lobster Wharf at 97 Atlantic Ave. The proposed construction of a series of finger floats and pilings was met with some concern from the public about whether or not it would clutter the inner harbor. The new materials would consist of two 28-foot by five-foot finger floats extending north off the main float, one 55-foot by six-foot float extending west, one 76.5-foot by six-foot float, two five-foot by 20-foot finger floats and nine new pilings and six replacement pilings. Selectmen unanimously approved the application.
Wolf spoke briefly on the election results concerning the five articles prohibiting retail marijuana in Boothbay Harbor. She explained that the wording appeared on the ballot as it did due to the counsel of the town attorney.
Said Wolf, “And the reason that it was worded as it was, (is because) it's required by the Maine Revised Statute to be worded in that way … a “yes” to prohibit because marijuana is legally allowed under the state law, but municipalities have the option under the law to not allow it. So, it is a legal action, and the town had to vote to prohibit that action. It was a bit clumsy — I admit that — but I have great confidence that the voters in Boothbay Harbor read what they're voting about and are smart folks who could figure out what the local warrant was asking them to vote on.”
Speaking from the audience, Corey Tibbetts said the wording was misleading.
“Personally, I am frustrated because I am educated and I read those questions multiple times and the only reason I knew how to vote for it the way I wanted the outcome to be was because of a post of someone that I saw earlier in the day that explained it,” said Tibbetts. “I'm not the only one that feels this way.”
Town Manager Tom Woodin thanked the police, fire and public works departments for their response to damage and obstructions the week of the storm.
“There were a lot of trees down, a lot of live wires in the community … and they were quick to react as best as they could,” said Woodin. “They did a great job and I want to thank them for that.”
“We wanted to make sure we did the best we could for everyone,” said Fire Chief Nick Upham.
“Well, you always do,” said Wolf. “Thank you.”
Woodin also thanked ballot clerks, Upham and Town Clerk Michelle Farnham for their efforts in counting votes Nov. 7.
“Some of the hand-counting went until midnight,” said Woodin. “A lot of them put in a lot of effort that evening, so a thank you to those people as well.”
Woodin issued a reminder of the planning board workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 15 concerning land use code changes to the east side of the harbor. And at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, Barney Baker Design Consultants will host a public, informational meeting regarding future work on the footbridge.