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Lamoine Board of Selectmen

 
 
Gary McFarland
Bob Christie Kathleen Rybarz  
 Minutes - November 15, 2018

 

Chair Nathan Mason called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

Present were: Selectmen Nathan Mason, Gary McFarland, Robert Christie, S. Josephine Cooper, Kathleen Rybarz; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, School Committee Chair Brett Jones, Planning Board Chair John Holt, Conservation Commission Chair Larissa Thomas, Superintendent of Schools Katrina Kane, Recreation Committee Secretary Nikki Chan, Code Enforcement Officer Rebecca Albright, Technology Committee Chair Bill Butler, Fire Chief George “Skip” Smith, Comprehensive Planning Committee Chair Fred Stocking and Board of Appeals Chair Griff Fenton

Minutes – October 25, 2018 – Nathan submitted one minor correction to the minutes and moved to approve with the correction.  Gary 2nd.  Vote in favor was 5-0.

Expenditure Warrant 11 – Selectmen signed the warrant in the amount of $100,328.87.  Stu noted that approximately $91,400 was for education, and the warrants arrived in the afternoon.

Cash & Budget Reports – Stu reported the auditors were in the town office today to conduct their annual audit field work.  There was a brief discussion about how long it would take to produce the audit.  Superintendent Kane said that their office has already been done, which may speed things along.

Checking Account Reconciliation – Selectmen signed the form indicating satisfaction with their review of the checking account reconciliation which had been e-mailed to them prior to the meeting.

Foreclosed Property – Stu reported the occupant of the Buttermilk Road property had been on time with the first revised installment payment.  He said the fire department responded to the house because of a flooded basement.

Resignation – Amanda Frost – Recreation Committee – Gary Moved to accept the resignation of Amanda Frost from the Recreation Committee with regret.  Kathleen 2nd.  Bob said the board should address her concerns before accepting the resignation.  He said Mrs. Frost should speak with the board before finally deciding whether to step down.  Stu reported he put that invitation into the acceptance letter.  Jo said it would be helpful to conduct something like an exit interview.  Nathan said it’s a lot of volunteer work to serve on the recreation committee.  He said it’s difficult to keep up the pace and can be stressful, and there are some issues that need to be addressed.   Vote in favor of accepting Mrs. Frost’s resignation was 4-0, Christie abstained. 

Fire Chief George “Skip” Smith remarked that it’s difficult to get people to volunteer and every community struggles with that.  Bob said around Hancock County Lamoine, and especially its fire department, are consistently respected for the level of volunteerism.

Meeting with Department Heads & Board Chairs - Those in attendance introduced themselves.  Each person gave an update of their organization’s activity.

 

Technology Committee – Chair Bill Butler said the school channel is up and running and this week attempted to simulcast on the town hall channel.  Stu reported that simulcast worked, and the best part was that the telecasts from the school could be live-streamed.  Mr. Butler said the tech committee is working with Hancock to try to get the Eagle Point area wired for cable/internet.  Nathan asked if the basketball games at the school could be telecast.  A brief discussion followed.

 

Code Enforcement – Code Enforcement Officer Rebecca Albright reported that she has sent a violation to a developer who allegedly cut too many Shoreland trees on Coley Cove Road.  She said at the suggestion of the Maine DEP she asked for the alleged violators to hire a forester to develop a reforestation plan and has received one to be carried out over 5-years with a specific survival rate.  She said she is working on a consent agreement, and said the violation was not as heinous as first thought as many of the trees were dead or diseased.   She noted that the draft Shoreland Zoning Ordinance allows tree cutting in most Shoreland zones, but does not require the property owner to consult with the CEO prior to cutting.  She said she and Planning Board chair John Holt are working on language to require a consultation with the CEO.  She said that would work tremendously for compliance ahead of time.

 

Ms. Albright said the Planning Board is looking at several ordinance changes.  She said there may be an application for a self-storage complex off Douglas Highway soon.  She said she received several inquiries this past summer about possible subdivisions, but only one still seems interested, and it would be a cluster housing design.  She said the various gravel pits seem to be in good compliance.

 

Ms. Albright said the fee schedule is being worked on.  She said there have been a lot of building and plumbing permits issued this year.  A brief discussion followed on the number of dwellings permitted.

 

Planning Board – Chair John Holt said the Planning Board has run across a lot of small things to fix in the town ordinances, and the list is getting lengthy.  He said that changes will require a town meeting vote. 

 

Mr. Holt said the town is under a state Shoreland Zoning mandate and they’ve been working on the revision for 2-to-3 years.  He said it’s quite a task, but the DEP is being helpful.  He said they will hold another public hearing which will require notification to some Shoreland lot owners. He said a more detailed map is needed and there may have to be a map of several layers  He said the map is very important and he has been talking with Gordon Longsworth at the College of the Atlantic about producing an appropriate map.  He said it’s a huge task, and not everything may fit on it. 

 

Mr. Holt said they hope to have the final formal public hearing in mid-February and possible action in March.  Brett Jones asked if the map is driven by GIS data, or by fact-finding on existing data.  He asks if the town uses data that can change.  Mr. Holt said he did not know.  He said perhaps when there is a new plan, the map would need to be amended.  CEO Albright said the Floodplain Map that FEMA posts on the Internet works well.   A brief discussion followed regarding mapping. 

 

Mr. Holt said the Planning Board has developed cluster housing language which would eliminate the requirement for municipal water and sewer (which doesn’t exist), and strengthen the open space requirements. 

 

Mr. Holt said the board awaits the outcome of the lawsuit brought by Friends of Lamoine in regard to the MacQuinn Pit Expansion.  He noted that the draft Comprehensive Plan assigns a lot of tasks to the Planning Board.   Bob asked about the proposed fee structure.

 

Conservation Commission – Commission chair Larissa Thomas said they have three primary functions – Education, Public Service, and technical support.  She said the GET WET program received a grant to expand and they’ve added testing of water from Blunt’s Pond to the curriculum.  She said the school is involved in a “tree walk”.  She said the Commission has sponsored a series of guest speakers.   

 

Mrs. Thomas said the Commission’s public service mission includes an annual coastal cleanup effort and they held a field day at Blunt’s Pond this year. She said the commission is offering technical support in regard to Shoreland Zoning violations and in the future they would like the town to tackle a solar energy project on the salt/sand shed, and help with design of a community building. 

 

Mrs. Thomas remarked that passing a Comprehensive Plan will make the town eligible for grants, and the Commission has some ideas regarding Shoreland erosion control.

 

Comprehensive Planning – Committee Chair Fred Stocking reported the committee held its public hearing on Monday and received generally favorable reviews.  He said they received some specific comments and will accept written comments until the end of the month.  He said the committee will meet on December 6, 2018   He said if things change in the proposed plan there would have to be another hearing.  He said he guessed the aim would be for a possible vote at the annual town meeting.

 

Mr. Stocking said the committee still had a little money left that he would like to see used to pay the consultant a little more as he has donated thousands of dollars’ worth of time. Brett Jones said the school department may have some updated information for the plan.

 

Fire Department – Chief Smith reported that the ladder truck has finally arrived and they are training on its operation before placing it in service.  He said they’re also repairing some very minor problems.  He said the department hopes to be able to hold an open house sometime after Thanksgiving to show it off. 

 

 

Chief Smith said there are a couple of new recruits he’s working on to join the department as they live in Lamoine but currently work for other departments nearby.  He said the equipment is operating well.  He said the call volume has slowed a bit; it’s not as bad as last year. He said recruiting and retaining volunteers is the biggest challenge as it’s a big commitment to become a firefighter.

 

Mr. Holt said the fire department sign that was posted on Lamoine Beach Road appears to have disappeared some time ago.  Chief Smith said he would check with the Maine DOT.

 

Board of Appeals – Chair Griff Fenton said he appreciates the support of the Selectmen and from town staff for help with the volume of work before them this year.  He said he’s very pleased with the newly appointed appeals board members.  He said the Board is focused on getting a Board of Appeals Ordinance drafted.   He said they sent out a draft for comments about a year ago.  He said they’ve received assistance from Maine Municipal Association, and they’re fine tuning a document based on the MMA model.  He said once that’s done, they’ll submit it for further comment. 

 

Mr. Fenton said affordable housing would draw new people to town.  He said the Planning Board might look at revisions, such as a smaller lot size, to ordinance to keep housing affordable.  He said Code Enforcement Officer Albright has been a great help during a tough year.  He said he’s proud of the Appeals Board members.  He said there is no timetable for an Appeals Board Ordinance, as it’s something they would like to get right the first time.

 

School – School Board chair Brett Jones aid there are some impressive academic numbers and promotion of a good school system helps to attract residents and students to town.

 

Superintendent of Schools Katrina Kane said the school collaborates well with the Select Board, the parents, and the town office, and that really shows.  She said a good school is far more than academics.  She noted that Lamoine has been able to fill vacancies when other school systems have had difficulty. 

 

Superintendent Kane said they are celebrating student achievement on the latest standardized test.   She said the scores for Lamoine were the highest in Hancock County. She said there are fantastic things going on at the school.  She said they’ve made some big parking improvements, but there are stills safety concerns when big events are held and parking is limited.  She noted that events such as the Christmas Concert have to be split because of the number attendees.  She said the parking pattern has changed.

 

Superintendent Kane said they’ve replaced the old storage sheds with a big new shed.  She said classrooms have no closets, but there are new science table.  She said the school population has continued to grow. She said the K-12 population is about 185, and there is some lack of space, and the school building still has to use portable classrooms without bathrooms. 

 

Superintendent Kane said the school department collaborates with Ellsworth and Hancock.  She said the major issue facing the Lamoine School is space and keeping up existing facilities.  She said they continue to talk with Hancock.

 

Chairman Jones said there is a lot of talk about collaborating on facilities.  He said Hancock is positioned well to receive assistance from the State of Maine.  He said he has worries about what would be palatable for a community center and suggested it would be helpful to have the school be in the same facility.  He said he wonders whether the town and the state would approve something with Hancock.  He said any facility is a long way out.  He noted the parking issues with the fire department in front of the portable classroom, saying the staff won’t use those spaces during the school day.  Discussions followed about striping the parking lot, having the portable classroom moved to make room for a large water tank for the fire station. 

 

Recreation Committee – Secretary Nicole Chan said on the outside, the Recreation Committee is doing well.  She said they had 5 soccer teams serving 57-students, and there are three basketball teams and a cheer squad.  She said the committee is serving youngsters from Hancock, Trenton and Ellsworth as well as Lamoine.  She said they have shifted away from competitive sports at the pre-K and Kindergarten level, doing instruction only, and the numbers are rising. 

 

Internally, Mrs. Chan said there are some struggles.  She said it’s hard to get volunteers and coaches.  She said the committee is coaching most of the sports themselves.  She said people with young children seem to have very little time to volunteer.  She said the program offerings are priced competitively, but the programs are not profitable.  She said there is a lot of stress and it takes a lot of work to pull off a program.   Nathan agreed that it’s an unbelievably difficult task to undertake. 

 

Stu asked Mrs. Chan if the Rec Committee wished to use the gray shed at the Anderson lot.  He said Richard McMullen is able to move it closer to the garage.  Mrs. Chan said they would like to utilize it. 

 

Jo noted that the number of volunteers serving Lamoine is phenomenal.  She said the town seems to function way beyond other towns and thanked those who serve.  Brett Jones said the quality of the service is pretty startling.

 

Community Center – Nathan said the idea of a community center is gaining interest.  He said the Selectmen have talked for a long time, and there is a need for space.  He said there is nothing set in stone, and all discussion has been preliminary in nature.  He said a community center will require some thought, and the first question to answer would be, “Is it necessary?”.

 

Griff Fenton said he’s concerned about the concept. He said the need for space is nothing new.  He said there are state mandates the school must meet which require space.  He said the gym is still too small.  He said that back in 1974 when the last major work was done on the school, it was state of the art.  He said the school has always been the community site.  He said the community center idea needs to be studied very carefully and addressed so that it works.  He said any committee needs to go in with eyes wide opened and address the needs.  He said he would like to see something happen, and young people should be the primary beneficiary.

 

Fred Stocking said the wish list continues to grow. He said the elderly population said a daytime drop in center would be nice.  He said the school does not work well for that because of security concerns.   A brief discussion followed.  He said there might have to be multi-location solutions.

 

Brett Jones asked if there was any square footage recommended.  Mr. Stocking said no.  Mr. Jones suggested maybe the school space would have to be utilized differently. Bob said the community center idea came up in numerous citizen meetings and gave some examples. 

 

Stu asked how this can get off the ground.  Nathan said the idea of a community center committee has been floating around for a while, but no one has volunteered.  Mr. Fenton said he would be willing to serve.  Nathan said he would too.  John Holt said there needs to be leadership from the Selectmen to create a committee.  Fred said the Lamoine 150th process will be ending in a couple of years. 

 

Lamoine 150 – Jo gave a very brief update on the Lamoine 150 Committee.  She said the first events start in May. 

 

Nicole Chan said the community is poised to have more young people.  She said her family purposely moved to Lamoine because of the good school.  She said communication is a big problem, and there needs to be a concerted effort to communicate the message.  She suggested a short video and a brief discussion followed. 

 

Fire Chief Smith said the fire house always seems to come up in conversation.  He said there should be some sort of long term plan for the fire department if a community building is planned.  Nathan noted said other communities have built community centers. 

 

Superintendent Kane said the sooner everyone gets working together to come up with a plan, the better.  A discussion followed on building maintenance. 

 

Mr. Holt said the facility needs and the “emotional” center need to be disconnected.  Mrs. Thomas said there are intersecting issues that touch all aspects of town.  Nathan said a lot of representation will be needed.  A discussion followed on the potential scope of a community building and past building efforts. Mr. Jones noted that in the past few years, the school has been teaching kids to be good people, and that is paying off.

 

Stu asked how to move forward.  Nathan said volunteers are needed.  Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones, Mr. Fenton and Nathan said they’re willing to serve.  Jo suggested that those present could be the committee and sub groups would break out from there.  Kathleen said perhaps the department heads could be the steering committee.  A discussion about structure followed.

 

Nathan said the group will need to decide the scope of any proposal.  Jo said that’s the job of the Selectmen.  She suggested drafting something and establishing a work group, talking to people who might be potential volunteers and invite them to come to the meeting.  She said there might be some people in town with a passion for this.  Bob said the group in the room is a good group to start.  Jo suggested starting with a brainstorming session.  Kathleen suggested scheduling a workshop.  Nathan said perhaps the Board chairs could either take a seat at the table or assign it appropriately.  After much discussion, the Board agreed to hold a workshop on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 7PM at the town hall. The board said if anyone knows of someone who might be willing to serve to invite them.

 

Budget – Stu reported the Budget Committee reviewed the Administration Budget at its initial meeting.  He said he has plugged in figures for Roads, Solid Waste, and the Fire Department budget but did not have the narrative ready for tonight.  He said it would be ready for the committee’s meeting on November 28, 2018 at 6:30 PM and asked the Selectmen to attend so both committees could review.

 

Smoking Policy – Selectmen said they had no reservation about adopting the draft smoking policy.  Kathleen moved to approve.  Nathan 2nd.  Vote in favor was 5-0.  (The Board will sign the policy at its meeting on November 29, 2018).

 

Fees – Selectmen discussed the proposed fee revisions and will consider adoption at the November 29, 2018 meeting.

 

Conservation Commission Communications – Selectmen acknowledged two e-mails from Conservation Commission Chair Larissa Thomas in regard to code enforcement and solar power and will review those further at the next meeting.

 

Request for Shed – Stu reported Russell Boynton Jr. is interested in obtaining the discarded structure taken from the school to the Anderson lot.  Nathan moved to allow that, Gary 2nd.  Vote in favor was 5-0.

 

Communication from Terry Towne – Selectmen received an e-mailed letter from Mr. Towne in regard to the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance development.  Nathan said he was confused as to where things stand.  Kathleen said she spoke with Planning Board Chair John Holt and watched the last Planning Board meeting on TV.  She said the Planning Board is working to develop a much more detailed map.  Nathan said if there is a statute requiring notification, then the appropriate property owners should be notified of changes.  Kathleen noted that Mr. Towne’s property is not proposed to have a zoning change.  Nathan said the ordinance appears to be a work in progress, He suggested a response to Mr. Towne would be that the Planning Board is still addressing this.

 

Road Work Assignment – Stu reported that Jay Fowler was unable to complete several of the projects he had assigned, and he has re-assigned those to McMullen Landscape and Construction.  He said much of the work may not get done before winter.

 

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.