Welcome to Pine Point Beach.com

Pine Point

Pine Point, Maine Information
E-mail address for this mail group is
Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com
Volunteers maintain this website to share news and information about events and issues in Pine Point on behalf of the Residents Association. The Residents Association is an informal group of citizens who become informed of neighborhood issues and take positions on those to present to town officials.

MEMBERSHIP

To Join, Email Judy Shirk at jshirk@maine.rr.com

Tell Friends, Family and Neighbors

Agenda Watch- Click Here For Town Council Agendas (Scroll to bottom of page)

WebSite Space Donated. Content Provided by Citizens
The most recent postings are at the top of the page
Letters to Editors: Here Are E-mail Addresses to the Editors
    Watch Town Council Meetings Online - Fast Forward Feature Bottom of Viewing Screen
 
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Welcome to Pine Point Beach

 

 

Voted the Best Beach in Maine by Readers of the Maine Sunday Telegram

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Beach Access Article Maine Sunday Telegram

Beach Access Article in Maine Sunday Telegram

 

 

 

Pine Point Issues in the News

 

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Lighthouse Motel Most Recent Developments of 2011-12

 

Lighthouse Condo Conversion Controvery Continues - June 2012

 

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Lighthouse Motel Conversion and Expansion on
3/4 Acre Site Back in News.
Planning Board to consider Site Plan on January 30, 2012

Scroll Down for More Information and Site Plan Details

 

Lighthouse Goes Back to Planning Board January 30, 2012 for Major Expansion
Three-story Structure Made Possible by the Land Swap
Which Gave Motel Needed Frontage
Neighbors Concerned About "Edifice" Dominating Skyline
Proposed Pickett Fence Violates Agreement with Town
Summer Construction Likely
Office to Remain Despite Planning Board Restrictions
Site Plan Shows Planters Back on King Street, on Public Property

 

Site Plan (Large File, 5 Pages)

Elevations and Floor Plans (Large File, 4 Pages)

Truman Letter to Planning Board with Details of New Plan

Planning Board Advisory Opinion October 3, 2011

 

Zoning Board Approves Motel Conversion November 9, 2011

Letter to Zoning Board byJohn Delehanty

Letter to Zoning Board Judy Shirk with Graphics

Letter to Zoning Board by Harold Hutchinson

Trumans Propose Condos Again, August 8, 2011

Forecaster Articles August 25, 2011

 

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Beachwalk Tries to Amend Site Plan to Permit Higher Fencing and Large Trees
Planning Board Denies Both. Fence in Violation for Over a Year.

 

Planning Board Denies Beachwalk Proposals For Large Trees and Higher Fences. June 20, 2011

 

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Pine Point Zoning Examined. Residents Urged to Stay Informed. August 2011

REZONING – ALERT

Attached is a notice some residents received about upcoming meetings at the fire station about zoning changes being considered in Pine Point.  Whether you own property in these areas or not, you will want to stay informed.  The link to the Zoning Ordinance is below.  You can search for B-1 and B-2 (business zones); there is speculation that Jones Creek Drive is being considered for rezoning from B-1 to B-2. It has been B-1 since Zoning began, according to one old time resident. 

The question raised by some is why aren’t other areas that have “grandfathered” uses being considered for rezoning?

And why is there a need for rezoning?  How will properties be impacted?  Does rezoning affect how properties are taxed?

As always, residents have to be vigilant as they learned recently when the Beachwalk tried to have height restrictions of fences and trees lifted by the Planning Board. They were unanimously denied what would likely have obliterated remaining scenic views of the dunes and bay.

Zoning Ordinance

http://www.scarborough.me.us/common/ordinances/405zoning.pdf

NOTICE FROM DAN BACON MAILED TO SOME PROPERTY OWNERS

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Pier Features in Portland Press Herald August 3, 2011

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Wednesday, August 10, 2011 11:30

Click Here for Article

 

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New Pier in Service

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Agreement Reached on Pier

 

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Beachwalk Seeks Change in Height Restrictions July 2011

The Beachwalk Association submitted a proposed amendment to its site plan to the Scarborough Planning Board seeking to have height retrictions lifted which were imposed to protect lotowner and abutter views of the shore. The Association requested that a fence be allowed to remain, which has been in violation of the height restriction for a year, and also requested approval to plant trees which would grow to 30 feet or more. The restrictions in place at the time of the Beachwalk approvral on fence and vegetation height of 42 inches was seen as a major success for residents who feared the development would obliterate views of the shore.

The Planning Board unanimously voted June 20, 2011 to deny the Beachwalk’s proposal to increase the height of an illegal fence at the home abutting Snowberry Park and also denied the applicant’s proposal to plant large trees in the view corridors.  Every member of the Planning Board expressed concerns with the proposals, which would violate the covenants and 2006 Planning Board Restrictions that neighbors and the Pine Point Resident Assn. worked so hard to achieve.

Judy Shirk, Elaine Richer, Mo Erickson, Joe Tedeschi and Joan Lourie addressed the Board and urged them to honor the previous planning board’s decision.

John Wiggin spoke for the Beachwalk as did Jim Fisher from the engineering firm Wiggins hired. Fisher stated he was not aware of why there was such an odd height restriction of 42” on fences and vegetation and tried to convince the Board to make a site visit after all members had made their views known.  Fisher was the engineer for Mr. Hollis, the developer at the time the restrictions were agreed to.

This proposal, once resident commented, is exactly why neighbors have to be vigilant about the protections they were successful in acquiring.  It has been five years since the subdivision was approved and there is little doubt the owners want to protect their investment at the public’s expense, she stated.  "We should all be proud that we continue to be active when the need arises, even as the years pass.  And let’s remember, we lost our public road to the shore, Depot Street, in the land swap deal. Does anyone wonder that something will be coming forth about the future of the Lighthouse Inn?  There are restrictions on that property as well."

The Town placed the homeowner of Lot 6  in violation for the patio fence a year ago.  The fence was constructed on a cement patio which was built up well above the original level of the ground so that the fence may be only 3 feet height but when put atop a 3 foot high cement patio is really a six foot obstruction.  That violates the conditions of approval.  Rather than have it removed a year ago, the Planning Dept. “worked with the applicant” to bring it to the Planning Board ayear later. "Now we can wait and see how long it takes for the Town to order it removed as the peak of the season approaches.  Will the Planning Staff honor the unanimous decision of the Planning Board or allow the fence to remain?" a member of the Association stated.

Letter by Judy Shirk to Planning Board

 

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2010 Association Annual Meeting Set for August 11th

Read the Notice Here

Annual Meeting and Membership Drive 
 

The "Pine Point Residents Association" formed six years ago as an informal group of citizens who get involved in local issues and present position statements to local and state government officials. Its primary purpose is to keep people informed of issues in the neighborhood. The group is open to anyone with an interest in Pine Point. Contributions are accepted to offset expenses.

THERE WILL BE POT-LUCK DINNER & SOCIAL, HISTORICAL SLIDE SHOW and  ANNUAL MEETING OF THE GROUP ON AUGUST 11th.  Marilyn Pena is coordinating this event and she can be reached at marilyn.pena@yahoo.com. Please contact Marilyn if you can help.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010    6:00 - 8:30  at Engine 4 Station

                  6:00         Pot Luck Supper
                  6:45         Pine Point History Slide Show
                  7:30         Association Annual Meeting - Update on Issues

Please come to all or part of this event

Please consider helping us expand our e-mail and call lists.  We use e-mail alerts and also a web site as a record of issues. You can visit it to browse the last six years of the group's efforts. If people you know don't use e-mail, they can be part of a phone "Call List" for information. 

To Join or suggest a friend or neighbor, send an e-mail to jshirk@maine.rr.com or Call Judy at 883-9400 with phone numbers to be added to the Phone Call List.

Current members may also want to send an e-mail to update or confirm their e-mail address.

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Flood Mapping Issue in the News.

You may have read articles recently in the local papers about the proposed changes to FEMA's Flood Maps. This is an issue which could have significant impact on property owners in Pine Point and other areas identified as high hazard flood areas. Residents are urged to visit Town Hall to see if their property has been identified and learn more about the potential costs of flood insurance and potential new restrictions on property improvements. Several communities have engaged engineering firms to review the proposed maps which could take effect next year, and the appeal period is only 90 days beginning soon. Scarborough officials have not apparently taken any steps to question the mapping of Scarborough properties on behalf of their landowners. You may wish to contact the Town Manager and Town Council members to ask what Scarborough plans to do. The contact e-mail and phone numbers are linked at the top of his page.

Here is a link to a July 5th article in the Portland Newspaper.
http://www.pressherald.com/news/femas-new-flood-plain-mapping-could-cost-coastal-mainers-dearly_2010-07-05.html

And a link to the July 13th article in the Press Herald
http://www.pressherald.com/news/deadline-90-days-to-appeal-fema-maps_2010-07-13.html

John interviewed Sue Baker, CFM who is the person in charge of the National Flood Insurance Program in Maine (State NFIP Coordinator)  at the State Planning Office. She can be reached by email at sue.baker@maine.gov or by phone at 207-287-8063. She is very helpful and informative.  She also produced a slide show to explain how this all works. It is online here: http://www.seagrant.umaine.edu/files/pdf-global/09mbc/09MBCbaker.pdf

People who find themselves now in a flood hazard area (Zones A and V) may want to read up on the process of taking their property OUT of the flood zone.  If a mortgage is on the property, the lender will require flood insurance, but if you can demonstrate through a survey that your elevation exceeds the local flood level elevation, you would be exempt, Sue explained. As for development or improvements, that has much to do with the Shoreland Zoning, so if people intend to improve or add or build they will want to  meet with local code people at Town Hall. Here is information on how to obtain a Letter of Map Amendment from FEMA.

 
FEMA – Letter of Map Amendment Information
http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/ot_lmreq.shtm

Town Flood Maps
To check your property, go to the Town’s Planning website and locate the maps.  You can zoom in on your property to see if your status is changing. There are two maps, current and proposed. If your property is in a A or V zone, you will want to visit Town Hall to learn about the elevation data..
http://www.scarborough.me.us/planning/index.html
Scroll down to Maps. PDF file very large, can zoom in on your lot

John also prepared a “before and after” chart of the maps but it may be hard to read. It will give you a quick glimpse of "before and after," but the maps on the town website are more detailed when you zoom in. David Grysk, the Code Officer in Town, suggested people come in to look at their property on the map and the Base Flood Elevation so they  know where they stand. They can explain the impact on individual properties.

Click Here for a Quick Look at the Map

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Charter Commission Sends Draft Changes to Council July 7, 2010

The appointed Charter Commission unveiled its recommendations at a special meeting of the Town Council July 7th. The Association testified to the Commission earlier in the spring and urged them to include changes which would allow any future "order" by the Council (such as the one approving the closing of Depot Street and the land swap) to be overturned by the voters. Citizens also urged a Recall provision be included so Council members could be removed from office by the voters.

There are changes which reflect these issues, but remarkably the language in the Recall provision would make recall so difficult that many say it's a ludicrous proposal. 25 voters would have to initiate the recall petition which would have to collect over 2000 signatures in 20 days. The voters will have to approve any final changes to the Charter and there is expressed hope that a recall effort could be made more reasonably than the draft calls for.

Read the draft of the Charter Changes Here

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Lighthouse Motel in Violation of Planning Board Approval

The Planning Board approved the Lighthouse Condotel's Site Plan in December of 2009 and included certain conditions. Among those were the style of fencing allowed. They received a letter of violation after erecting two solid fences and were directed to remove them or apply for a Site Plan amendment to the Board. They have submitted that application and were supposed to appear last month but requested it be tabled. The Board will hear their proposal Monday, July 19, 2010 at 7:00. the Association sent a statement to the Board urging them to maintain the restrictions for the benefit of the public and so a precedent is not set for future view obstructions. Members of the Public may speak at the Board meeting

Read the Letter of Violation from the Town

Read the Proposed Amendment by the Owners

Read the Association's Statement Here

 

 

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Construction of Beach Access Trail and Road Reconstruction Project

The road reconstruction project and development of the beach access trail has occurred this spring. Many people report positive opinion of the project while others still believe the Town could have had so much more had the Council not agreed to a disproportionate land swap and literally gave away 6,700 square feet of shorefront public land to the motel. Nevertheless, the project is partially finished but the process was not without controversy. Residents turned out in large numbers to urge the Council to order removal the the large stone wall structures which were installed almost entirely in the right of way by the motel owners. In what was reported as a surprise vote, the Council agreed with residents and ordered the walls be removed. Since the road reconstruction project narrowed this corner considerably, residents argued that the illegal encroachments needed to go and that public land reclaimed for use by the public. Soon after the vote, the Town Manager indicated that the walls would not be removed based on "conditions on the ground" and an opinion by Town Engineering consultant William Bray. A meeting was requested at Engine 4 with the Manager and Chairperson Carol Rancourt and 40 residents appeared in less than 24 hours notice to demand an explanation of why the Council's order was not being carried out. Attempts to explain the engineering issues were met with arguments that the Council's vote was the authority and any change in the Council's policy should go back to the Council. The next day, Mrs. Rancourt contacted the Association to inform members that the walls on public property would, indeed, be removed. Only a tiny portion was allowed to remain. While many objected to having to once again react to a decision by the Town of great importance to the citizens, this was described as another victory for the neighborhood

Read the Association Update, View Photos and See E-mail Messages Here

 

 

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Fence Ordinance Requested by Association Being Considered June, 2010

With concerns about the Beachwalk's statements that it intends to gate its private road and install trees (both would violate planning board conditions), the Residents Association has advocated for a fence ordinance to ensure that public views of the bay would not be obliterated by fencing. The Ordinance Committee began the process this spring and heard from several residents about the need for some reasonable regulation of fences in scenic areas. The Town Manager expressed several concerns and a draft ordinance requested by Councilors was not produced, but the Ordinance Committee heard testimony from many residents, including some on Granite Street where a large stockade fence may be erected blocking several home's vistas. A statement of "elements of a fence ordinance" was provided by the Association which outlined concerns and ideas for an ordinance.

Read the Statement Here

 

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Final Task Force Plan Unveiled. Goes to Planning Board March 15th, 7:00
Public May Speak to Planning Board

Residents Association Response & Positions (Large PDF File)

Final Concept Plan (Large PDF File)

Final Concept Plan (Small File)

Planting Plan

Image and Detail Gallery

Traffic Consultant Bill Bray Revised Memo


 

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Task Force to Conclude its Work February 16, 2010

Residents Provide Summary Report, Checklist Version of Summary Report, and Bray Memo Response for Task Force's Consideration

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Charter Commission Public Hearing Held. Residents Urge Reforms to Charter

Few residents attended the February 8th Meeting. Those who spoke urged charter revisions to prevent the "abuse of power" observed in the Land Exchange decision
and urged inclusion of a recall provision to dismiss Town Council members that does not require unrealistic standards for petitioning and voting.

Read Judy Shirk's Personal Statement to the Commission

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Town Hires Traffic Consultant to Review Plan. Residents Respond

January - February 2010
The Main Issue - Removal of the Motel's Stone Wall Structure Built on Town Property

The Memo from Traffic Consultant William Bray and his "Mark-up" of the Task Force Draft Plan.

Residents Respond to Bray Memo and Submit to Task Force

 

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Town Publishes Record of Comments at Public Forums

February 2010

The Town's Record of Input from the Public Forums.
Residents have requested a more detailed record.

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Beach Access Plan - Public Forums Over - Feedback to Task Force Provided

January 12, 2010

Click Here to Read the Association's Summary Report and Feedback to the Town Manager's Task Force

Click Here to View the Draft Plan

Media Report - Scarborough Leader - January 15, 2010

 

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Trumans' Stockade Fence Taken Down by Town Public Works December 29, 2009

Residents Contend Strategy Worked.

A small victory came at a great price today; the despised Stockade Fence installed by the Trumans in 2007 was removed by Public Works. the Fence, which was regarded widely as a "Spite Fence" since was installed long before any homes were under construction next door, obliterated public views of the Bay and, remarkably, blocked views for the Trumans guests. Several citizens speculated that the fence was just one more part to the strategy by the motel owners to wear down the public and Town officials so they could achieve their goal of redeveloping their site the way they wanted to, even to the detriment to the neighborhood. The fence followed what is still regarded as an illegal conversion of the motel to a 22-unit condotel on one-third of an acre without Zoning Board approval. It followed the sale of Truman land across the street to developer Paul Hollis which became the debacle that is the Beachwalk Subdivision (a scandalous story of its own involving out-of-court settlements with the Town which was kept secret for months). Those who speculated this was a carefully planned strategy appeared to have been right, according to some residents.

Six years ago the Trumans were going to convert their 22-room motel to 5 luxury condos with parking in the back and give up their narrow parking lot to the Town in exchange for significant assistance from the Town. The public ultimately supported the plan. The Trumans squashed it claiming too many controls by the Town, yet it was the Town that was making it possible for them with significant assistance. Their subsequent years of patience allowed them to find a new town manager who would not meet with Association leaders to learn the five-year history, and he engaged in what residents have called secret negotiations for the transfer of public shorefront property and the closing of Pine Point's most visible and widest public road to the beach. Citizens writing to the Association remain baffled by the process used and outraged by the outcome, but several believe the people should not rest until the road is returned to the people.

The Trumans essentially were given the entire 50 foot wide public road in exchange for their crumbling 21 foot wide set of parking spaces across the street. There are serious violations alleged regarding the Town process, violation of the Right to Know law, DEP approvals not obtained, conflict of interest questions with the Town Attorney, an illegal discontinuance of a road which has been used by the public for centuries and therefore has a public easement, illegal gifting of public property to a private party in an exchange which gave the Trumans excess land well beyond the value of the land they swapped (the excess land the Town gifted to the Trumans is estimated to be valued at over $400,000), insufficient deed restrictions, and many questions of unethical practices by some town officials. Citizens have vowed to continue their challenges legally and through appeals to state and federal authorities. The entire process is now being called a "scandal" by many who contribute to this and other reports, especially in light of the related issues at the Beachwalk and the "coincidental" road reconstruction plan for the area.

A new organization is reportedly forming, town-wide, called "Scarborough Citizens United" which purports to act as a watchdog and will investigate these and other matters of questionable public policy. Anyone can join the mailing list as this group begins to develop, it was reported, by e-mailing scarboroughmaine@live.com.




No More Road to the Beach. No Turnaround Area. Handicap Access Gone. Fishermen Access Gone. No Fire Lane.
Motel Doubles Parking Lot, Expanding a Non-conforming Commercial Business in a Residential Zone.
Parking Approved By Planning Board Down Right Side Rather than in Front of Motel. Views Lost to RV Parking. Cost to Taxpayers Substantial.

More Photos Here

 

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Media Reports & Editorials

Forecaster December 30, 2009

 

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DEPOT STREET GONE

ROAD CLOSED

DEEDS SIGNED

12-22-2009

RESIDENTS CONTINUE CHALLENGES

 

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DEEDS SIGNED. DEPOT STREET GONE

UPDATE & NEWS – PINE POINT – DECEMBER 22, 2009

Depot Street was completely roped off by the Trumans today just after the deeds were signed this morning, it was learned by witnesses who also saw Mr. Truman repeatedly creating “figure 8’s” on the public road with a vehicle.  The road, however, is apparently not yet discontinued according to a legal opinion provided to residents and shared with the Association because the deeds have not been recorded yet. This is according to an official at the Registry of Deeds, and recording information appears on the Registry’s public database at www.mainelandrecords.com.  

One resident stated that she expects Town administrators will “explain this away as a legal technicality,” but also said she and many citizens remain very hopeful that Town Councilors will immediately intervene and request that Mr. Vaniotis not record the deeds.

Resident Judith Shirk formally requested a ruling from the Code Enforcement Officer and a second legal opinion at last Wednesday’s Council meeting on the questions of the motel not receiving Zoning Board of Appeals approval for an expansion of a non-conforming commercial use in a residential zone. The motel is reportedly doubling the size of the parking lot and adding fencing and stone pillars. Also, alleged DEP violations were discovered and reported to the Council by Dunstan resident Robert Baizley. The Association was provided with a copy of a formal complaint submitted to the DEP which has been accepted and is being investigated, according to an email from a DEP official. 

Citizens have also reported speaking to some Council members to request an explanation of the timing and due diligence of the legal opinion which was provided prior to the Council meeting last Wednesday but not disclosed that evening or provided to the Council at its meeting. The opinion came by email to the Town Manager and two other town administrators approximately two hours after it was requested by the Town Manager on the day of the Council meeting. It was apparently not copied to Council members since none were aware of it during the meeting.  Several residents have questioned how it would be possible for the Town attorney to review the recent Planning Board decision 8 days ago (no minutes are available) which they state would obviously be necessary to make an informed legal judgment on the question.

It is not in the best interest of either party to record the signed deeds, according to the legal conclusion which was shared with the Association.  Recording the deeds would have the effect of finalizing the Council’s Discontinuance Order of the road and the public’s right to use it.  Furthermore, a potential conflict of interest, or the appearance of one, by the Town attorney must be examined, residents have stated, because he negotiated both the land exchange transaction and also advised the Town on the questions above in his role as advisor to the regulatory authority of the Town. The claim is that an opposite legal opinion, months after the land swap negotiations concluded (i.e. that this is, indeed, an expansion of a non-conforming use and requires Zoning Board approval) would be viewed by the Trumans as bad faith bargaining by the Town, a reasonable opinion, they stated.  Therein lies the potential conflict of interest, according to these citizens.

Below is the approved Council “Order” from last summer. The last sentence is clear, according to a legal opinion offered.  The Trumans reportedly “barricaded” the road before the official recording of the deeds, an act described by one resident as the ultimate final insult to the people of Scarborough.

 

Order No. 09-91. Move approval of the second reading to discontinue all of that portion of the town way accepted on March 28, 1872 and depicted as “Town Road” on a plan entitled “Plan of Pine Point, Scarborough, Me.” recorded in the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds at Plan Book 6, Page 36, formerly known as Depot Street and renamed Pine Point Road in 1976, which lies southeasterly of the intersection of King Street and Pine Point Road, with the westerly boundary line of that portion of Pine Point Road to be discontinued being defined by the turning of an approximate 49.5 ft radius, with the radius point on the pin at the intersection of the northeasterly sideline of Pine Point Road and the northwesterly sideline of King Street, from the southeasterly sideline of Pine Point Road to the extension and on the same course of the southeasterly sideline of King Street and then on the same course of that sideline extension to the southeasterly sideline of King Street as depicted on said plan.  Said discontinuance to take effect only upon recording in the registry of deeds of the deeds described in Order No. 09-88, Order No. 09‑89 and Order No. 09-90.

 

FORUM

Tonight’s public forum on the design of the beach access was attended by Councilors Rancourt, Wood and Holbrook. Town Staff included the Town Manager and Public Works Director.  The landscape engineer was present, along with a reporter from the Current and a few citizens.  Residents continued to criticize the timing of the process this evening and have reportedly requested the Town reach out to those who own property here but live elsewhere during the winter through mailings and, at the very least, information on the Town’s website.
    

This communication was sent to 283 undisclosed recipients. .

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Town Manager Confirms Signing Deeds Just 6 Days After
Town Council Requested Written Legal Opinion

From: Thomas Hall [mailto:THall@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 1:58 PM
To: Pine Point Residents Assn.
Cc: Carol Rancourt ; Carol Rancourt
Subject: RE: Deeds

John – I executed the deeds this morning and the same will be recorded sometime today – I am not aware of the particulars regarding the recording since the Town Attorney’s office is handling this matter.  As regards notification to the community, I have made no special arrangements, although I suspect the Truman’s will provide some notice for their purposes.  Tom

Thomas Hall,
Scarborough Town Manager
 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Pine Point Residents Assn. [mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 1:49 PM
To: Thomas Hall
Cc: Carol Rancourt ; Carol Rancourt
Subject: Deeds

Town Manager:

I have been asked to write with a request you confirm a report that you have signed deeds for the property with the Trumans, when you signed, and if they have been recorded at the Registry.

Finally, do you know how will the community be informed when the public road will be private property?

For the Association

John Thurlow

 

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December 16th Town Council Meeting
Citizens Ask Council to Direct Manager to Hold Off Signing
Deeds Until Legal Analysis Done Regarding Need for Zoning Board Approval

Read the Residents' Statements Presented by Judy Shirk

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Town Manager's Task Force on the Design of the Beach Access
Tuesday Night (22nd) at Engine 4, 6:30-8:00 

Read The December 21st Update to Citizens

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DEP and Zoning Violations Claimed by Citizens

Read the Research Claiming Violations by the Town

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PLANNING BOARD APPROVES LIGHTHOUSE PARKING SITE PLAN

DEEDS LIKELY TO BE CONVEYED NOW

 

The Planning Board unanimously approved the Site Plan for the Lighthouse condotel and refused to hold another public hearing based on changes to the original site plan.  20 or more residents attended, many of whom indicated they wanted to speak on several elements of the plan as well as process flaws.  They were not allowed to speak.

Central to the process question are several reported issues:  First, the ownership of the land they approved this site plan for is still unanswered despite the Town's insistence it owns the property.  Second, the Town's Design plan for the beach access project has not even had its first public review at the three scheduled forums (the first is December 22nd at Engine 4).  Third, since the Town doubled the size of the parking lot for the Trumans when they gave them excess land they created an "expansion of a non-conforming use" which requires Zoning Board approval prior to Planning Board final approval. That was not done. DEP approval is required for this plan and the Board routinely requires evidence of DEP approvals before it grants its own approvals. That was not done. The road discontinuance is allegedly illegal according to attorneys who consulted the Save Our Depot Street citizen group because it has been actively used by the public thereby establishing a public easement.

Several residents have sent letters to the papers exposing these and other flaws in the Planning Board process.  Others are filing a formal request for investigation by the DEP and a review by David Grysk, local Code Enforcement Officer who is obligated to rule on the expansion of a non-conforming use.

The Town Manager indicated that the deeds will likely be completed once final approval was made.  This was, therefore, a decision with enormous consequences should the Town continue down the path of finalizing the deal. Residents are trying to convince a majority of the Council to rescind the former Council's vote and undo the plan.

 

PUBLIC FORUMS ON BEACH ACCESS

 
The Town Manager has scheduled 3 meetings to get public input on his Task Force's plans for the Beach Access area on the Trumans' old parking strip.  One is December 22nd! More information on the website. It was recommended by one resident to ask the Town to mail the plan to residents, many of whom receive mail at their summer residence elsewhere with a return envelope for comments.  No word on that so far.  The Town obviously knows this is a difficult time of the year to hold forums like this.

 
Tuesday, December 22 6:30 - 8:00 PM at the Engine 4
Thursday, January 7 6:30 - 8:00 PM at Engine 4           
Tuesday, January 12 7:00 - 8:30 PM at Town Hall

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Open Letter to the Planning Board
Talking Points for Planning Board Meeting

If the public is allowed to speak, here are some talking points that may be helpful as you prepare you comments.

Open Letter and Talking Points

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Planning Board Meeting Monday, December 14th at 7 p.m. Town Hall

The Planning Board will be deliberating Final Approval of the Lighthouse Condos Parking lot.
There has been no word on whether or not the public can speak.
A strong attendance would be useful anyway although many are away.

PLEASE TRYTO ATTEND

Agenda is Here

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Media Reports About Site Visit and Planning Board Consideration on December 14

Current | Forecaster | Leader

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Planning Board Must Review Task Force Plan. Town Has Not Made Request

Click Here

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Planning Board Agenda Includes 2nd Lighthouse Site Plan December 14th

Click Here

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Task Force on Beach Access Finishes Work, Town Manager Presents to Council

Click here to View Plan

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Planning Board to Hold Site Walk December 7, 2009

A group of residents prepared a packet of Fact Sheets for the Planning Board Members

Click Her to View it (Large PDF File)

 

 

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Update Council Meeting, Rancourt Voted Chairperson, Holbrook Sworn In

Judy Shirk and Sue Perrino Address Council

Ask for Reconsideration of Land Swap

 

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Update to Association on Election, Ongoing Land Exchange Debate

Sullivan Unseated fromm Council

 

COUNCIL MEETING THIS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18

 

 A regular Council meeting will be help this Wednesday at 7:00 at Town Hall (November 18th). New Council member Jessica Holbrook will be sworn in and a new chairperson will be elected.  Please read the article in the Forecaster which is pasted below. It give you more insight into the attitudes of certain Councilors.  We urge attendance, if only for a few minutes, as a sign of victory and to applaud the new Councilor and new Chairman (assuming Rancourt is given what he is due).  Mike Wood was made Chair after 12 months on the Council.  Carol has served 6 years and has never served.  You can imagine why.

 

  

Planning Board Acts on Lighthouse Parking Lot

 

The Planning Board did NOT approved the site plan for the Truman's new parking lot which will be located on Depot Street. The plan calls for cars to park right down the middle of the road the Council closed and traded for their small parking strip.

 

Board members cited several issues: incomplete plan, the stone wall encroachment on public property, the four foot picket fence, questions about lighting, the entrance dimensions, and others. 

 

Several residents brought information to the Board which they were clearly not aware of, such as the road reconstruction plan and the Town Manager's walkway plan.  They intend to look into both to see the big picture.

 

By the way, Depot Street is still ours.  No deeds have been exchanges yet. 

 

 

Election Results

 

In what is being heralded as a major upset (an incumbent Councilor losing by over 400 votes) and a referendum or sorts on Pine Point, voters retired Richard Sullivan, the lone swing vote whose flip on the land swap plan resulted in closing our centuries-old public road to the beach and giving away over 6,000 square feet of shorefront land to the Lighthouse Motel.  Sullivan, himself, attributed his loss to the issue, although her characterized the good people of Scarborough as "attacking" him.  Farewell Mr. Sullivan.  Jessica Holbrook will replace him creating the first four women majority in recent memory.  Perhaps the male-dominate bloc will lose its power and the public will be given the respect it deserves.

 

 

Challengers upset incumbents in Scarborough Town Council, School Board elections; land bond OK'd

 

Published: Nov 03, 2009 11:20 pm - By Peggy Roberts

 

SCARBOROUGH — Challenger Jessica Holbrook upset incumbent Town Councilor Richard Sullivan by 416 votes Tuesday to win one of two council seats, 3,770 to 3,354.

 

Councilor Carol Rancourt received the most votes with 4,627 and will retain her seat for a third, three-year term. Michael Hoglund, with 2,433 votes, rounded out the unofficial results.

In the race for three Board of Education seats, challenger Robert Mitchell, with the second highest number of votes at 4,211, will return to the board, a position he held from 2000 to 2006. Incumbent Jane Wiseman edged out incumbent Annalee Rosenblatt by just 45 votes, 4,080 to 4,035 to earn a second term. The top vote getter, incumbent Jacquelyn Perry, with 4,385 votes, will add to her 20 years total board experience with another three-year term.

A local referendum question that would allow the town to borrow up to $1 million for the purchase of conservation land passed easily, 5,844 to 2,800.

 

Voting was brisk in Scarborough, with 9,110 of 14,671 registered voters, or 62 percent, participating.

When she heard the results, Holbrook said she was having trouble putting her thoughts into words.

"I'm really excited," she said. "It's very heart-touching how so many people really supported me. I tried to be real honest with people and tell people how I think and how I feel and that got heard a little bit. It's a great honor."

Rancourt said she was "very pleased" to be re-elected.

"I thank the voters of Scarborough for giving me one more term," she said.

Though she said she was "surprised" that not all the Town Council and Board of Education incumbents were re-elected, she said she's "kind of excited to have a young woman on the council."

"(Holbrook is) an unknown, she'll be her own person, learn a lot and be her own voice," Rancourt said.

Sullivan said he "wasn't that surprised" at the outcome because of "attacks" against him by Pine Point residents.


 

Sullivan was considered the swing vote in a council decision to trade town-owned land at Pine Point with a strip owned by the Lighthouse Motel. He was frequently criticized by members of the Pine Point Residents Association for his decision to change his position and vote in favor of the swap.

But Sullivan said Wednesday he didn't think the Pine Point factor was the only reason he lost. He speculated that the opportunity to elect another woman to the council might have made a difference to voters who accused the council of being divided along gender lines.

Or, "Maybe I was too conservative in my council decisions," he said. "It's really hard to say."

Sullivan said he does intend to run again and, in the meantime, will keep his eye on town spending.

"I don't want to see the budget climb," he said. "I think Jessica (Holbrook) will be very liberal and the town's in for some tax increases and I probably will be speaking at council meetings that concern the budget."

Perry said she was looking forward to serving another term on the School Board, but acknowledged the economic challenges would make it a difficult time. She said she was pleased Mitchell would be back on the board because of his "fine, financial mind" and the way he clearly explains details to both the board and to the public.

"He and I don't always agree," Perry said, "but we debate the issues and he is wonderful to work with."

Saying it will be "a lot of work," Mitchell said he was pleased to be elected to the school board.

"It's going to be a challenging time, not only this year but next year," he said. "I look forward to the challenge; I hope the board will work well with the council."

And Wiseman said she was excited to know she would be serving another three years.

"I truly enjoy serving on the board," she said. "I look forward to continuing the policy work and working with Bob (Mitchell) and Jackie (Perry). It will be an interesting three years."

Rosenblatt said she had worked hard as a school board member and worked hard to be re-elected. "I thought I did what I had to do but I came up short," she said.

She said she is unsure if she'll run again, but will continue to serve the town as chairwoman of the Charter Commission.

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.

 

 

 

 

LAWYER OUT THERE

Is there a Lawyer out there who may have in interest in pursuing this further?  A suit can still be filed to stop this land swap.  Maybe you know of one who may know of one.

 

  

 

ASSOCIATION BUSINESS


Gaston has offered to do the work to formalize the Association so we can collect dues and help fund our efforts.  We had voted to do this last August.  So if you would please agree to his recommended $25/year dues and send a check to Judy Shirk, P. O. Box 864, Scarborough, 04070-0864, made payable to her, she will record your dues and Gaston will begin the process.  We will need to identify a President, Secretary, and Treasurer. If you are willing to assume one of those positions, please let us know.

 

RECALL PETITION


George has submitted the Recall petition documents. By law, five voters are needed to sign the documents so the petition can be created and signatures gathered.  We will miss the election but there are other places we can gather signatures for the Council Recall petition.  Please let Judy know if you would be willing to be one of the five.


 

TOWN MANAGER'S TASK FORCE


The "Task Force" Hall set up to create the plan for what is left of our land has met three times.  Hutch and Jack attended. Hutch has left for Florida so Joan Lourie has agreed to participate.  We will provide information as soon as it is available.  It appears no work will be done until spring. Hall hired Terri DeWan to work with the group, the same landscape engineer who designed the plan which filled the town land at Claudia Way with beach grass and plantings to discourage public access. 

 

E-MAIL LIST 

 

We would like to expand our e-mail list so we can reach out to more people in the community.  Please consider emailing us any of your contacts in Scarborough who you think would like to help.  They can opt-out of the email letters if they want.  The Association's email is

 

 

 

CONTRIBUTIONS TO LEGAL FUND

 

The group "Save Depot Street Association" is still short funds to pay their legal fees which they took on for the entire community.  Please consider a donation to this group by contacting Bob Rovner at pgrmar1@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

FORECASTER ARTICLE ON NEW COUNCIL CHAIRPERSON

 

 

 

Scarborough councilor makes unusual, public bid for leadership

 

Published: Nov 12, 2009 9:40 am - By Peggy Roberts

 

SCARBOROUGH - A town councilor last week announced her candidacy for council chairwoman, giving the public a rare peek into what is traditionally a behind-the-scenes selection process.

Beginning her third consecutive three-year term on the council after receiving the most votes in the recent council election, Vice Chairwoman Carol Rancourt stated during last week's Town Council meeting that it was her "plan to run for chair."

"I'm not pressing the flesh tonight, just stating that I will be, for the third time, trying to be chair," she said.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Rancourt said it is important to "be up front" about her intentions. And with women now in the council majority - a first for Scarborough - Rancourt said the time may be right for the first woman in more than 10 years to be elected to the leadership position.

If successful, Rancourt said she would carry on the tradition of asking councilors their preference for service on committees and make her decisions accordingly. But with only three seats on each committee, councilors don't always get their top choices.

In the past, chairmen have at times come under scrutiny for their selections to the Finance Committee. If all seven councilors express interest in that committee, Rancourt said prior experience and new ideas would weigh equally in her decisions.

"I am not out to have a revolution," she said. "What I'm out to do is to protect the best interest of the town."

But despite Rancourt's public announcement, vote-counting is going on in private. And the biggest unknown is newly elected Councilor Jessica Holbrook.

Holbrook defeated incumbent Councilor Richard Sullivan. In addition to changing the majority gender, the speculation of many councilors is Holbrook will pull it further to the left. But no one appears to be quite sure.

Though she did not indicate her intention during a phone interview this week, Holbrook said she appreciated knowing Rancourt is interested in being chairwoman.

"It's good to know somebody would want to have that position rather than shove it onto somebody," she said. "I would hope if somebody else is interested they would just kind of throw it out there."

Councilor Shawn Babine said in his six years on the council, he'd "never heard of a councilor announcing they're running or making their intention known."  But he added, while unusual, he didn't see anything wrong with that.

Before last week's election, several people had asked Babine to consider the chairmanship, he said. But after the election the "dynamics changed," he said, and he asked someone else to run. Though he wouldn't name names, he did state that it was not Rancourt.

Rancourt's actions during the Pine Point land swap discussions disappointed several councilors and contributed to their hesitation in supporting her as chairwoman.

Babine said the issue is not her decision to vote against the swap, but what he called her "lack of respect" for a motion to reconsider. A councilor must have voted with the majority to move to reconsider a vote. But Rancourt was allowed to put a vote for reconsideration of the land swap on the agenda last August, and Babine made the motion on her behalf.

But Rancourt did not speak to the motion and the subsequent vote upheld the decision to carry out the swap.

"After we reconsidered it, she said nothing, which shocked me because that was her opportunity to change our minds," Babine said. "This was political gamesmanship; that's not what I want to see in a chair."

Councilor Ron Ahlquist said he would support Rancourt, even to create the impression that the council is unified behind one candidate.

"I expected Carol (Rancourt) to do the right thing and vote for Jeff (Messer) in the past and she refused to do it, so now she wants us to do it for her?," he said. "I don't think so."

Two years ago, at the start of Messer's last year on the council, Rancourt ran against him unsuccessfully.

Praising current Chairman Mike Wood for his "awesome job," Ahlquist asked why anyone would choose not to reinstate Wood as chairman. But he said he would also support Babine or, possibly, Councilor Judy Roy. His support of Roy would be a departure from what his comments in the past have indicated, but Ahlquist said this week that he thought she did an excellent job this past year.

Roy said Wednesday that she has been asked by a couple of councilors to consider running for chairwoman, but said she "kind of" supports Rancourt.

"It doesn't matter to me who's chair as long as they do a good job," she said. "I guess I do (support Rancourt) - I've got to talk to the other councilors."

Roy stressed the chairman must have the time available  that the position requires. Regular meetings and communication with the town manager, projects that come up and certain scheduled events all take a lot of time and energy, she said.

Councilor Karen D'Andrea said the town is "screaming" for change and she is pleased that Rancourt is running for chairwoman and plans to support her.

"I think she would bring with her an ability to really communicate well with the citizens," D'Andrea said.

Though she doesn't always agree with Rancourt's decisions, D'Andrea said Rancourt is "honest and open."

In what he called a "nice conversation" this week, Wood said he gave Rancourt his impressions and feedback about her performance over the past year.

While he said he "wouldn't turn it down," Wood indicated he is wary of running once again for chairman after being advised it would be a tough position, since he would likely be in the minority. This past year, when seeking the position of chairman - the first chairman since Messer was termed out - Wood said he fought hard to shed the label of being Messer's proxy.

"At the end of the day, I at least was able to convince them a unanimous vote showed the council was committed to serving the public in a way that was professional and had proper decorum and  proper respect for each other," he said.

Wood said he hoped the vote would be unanimous this year, but added that he does not think that will be the case.

"There is nobody on the council that I would be so opposed to seeing in the chairmanship that I wouldn't vote for them," Wood said. "It's not about an agreement as to style or philosophy. It's more in my view about the fact that we've got to conduct the town's business and there's not a lot of value for me to support someone who will not have the necessary votes."

The council will swear in new members and elect a chairman and vice chairman at its next meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.

 

 

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It's Election Time!

Carol Rancourt and Richard Sullivan are both running for reelection to the Council. Carol has been described as a listener, voice of reason, and cautious and thoughtful in her approach to the Depot Street issue and many others, always encouraging more information, careful study, and more time to make the right decision. Sullivan, by contrast, will be forever remembered as the "swing" vote whose single vote in July 2009 would forever change the centuries-old history of public access to the shore in Pine Point and alter the people's views of the ocean. In July of 2009 he appeared convinced that the absurd land swap plan put forth by Town Manager Thomas Hall was not complete and that more work needed to be done. He stated he was prepared to support it but had a change of heart after listening to the people and reading the petition. Moments later, to the absolute surprise and outrage by the large crowd, he raised his hand with Babine, Wood and Ahlquist (the 3 who had already stated they would support the plan in June before any public comment and after having only received the plan 5 days before). He became the swing vote and knew it because he knew those three had already made up their mind a month before.

We need Councilors who have the courage to stand up to those who seek to control them or exert power over them. We need Councilors who will not flip flop, but will vote in a way that is consistent with their words. Councilor Sullivan voted that night to close a public road to the shore and to give away for free a valuable piece of shorefront public land. Yet here is what he had to say prior to voting to do so. Watch this video and decide for yourself if you expected him to vote in favor of the plan.

Click to Watch the Video Clip

Then consider sending your opinion to the editors of the local papers (addresses below). Let your fellow citizens know where you stand on the candidates and why. It is said we evaluate our public officials at the voting booth, so here's our chance. You can bet the political machine that has operated in this town for some time will be working hard to reelect Sullivan.

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Attorney Dan Warren Writes in August 28, 2009 Scarborough Current's "Spurwink Notes"

Local attorney Dan Warren used his weekly column this week to offer a view of the Land Swap Issue. It is not available online, but you can read a copy here. Through documents obtained from Town Hall through the Freedom of Information Act, Mr. Warren's behind-the-scenes role in the issue was discovered. A large quantity of e-mail messages obtained from the Clerk's office revealed that Mr. Warren has been forwarding Association e-mail messages he obtained from some source to the Town Manager. Those include messages intended for Association members' in coordinating their lobbying and remarks to the Council, and one confirming the spelling and addresses of the 372-name petition presented July 15th. That e-mail was forwarded from Warren to Hall and then from Hall to the Town Clerk one minute later. The Clerk was apparently instructed to verify the names that afternoon against a voter list so Chairman Wood could use the data to discredit the petition by stating exactly how many were not "voters." The presenter of the Petition, Sue Perrino, made it clear to the Council when she presented it that the signers were residents and taxpayers. Citizens were reportedly outraged the Chairman would discount their right to sign because they vote elsewhere but own property in Scarborough. Association members who Warren's firm had represented in the past reacted. This discovery follows the issue last spring surrounding the Racino referendum vote last year (articles).

Click here to see the e-mail between Warren and the Town Manager

 

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August 26, 2009

Association Meets to Consider Next Steps

44 members of the Association attended a special meeting held to discuss the Council's final act regarding Depot Street. A Plan was developed on next steps and individuals and teams have taken on various "projects." The Association members were unanimous in their resolve to continue to correct this injustice and have several avenues to explore. If you wish to join the next phase, please contact us at pine-point-beach@maine.rr.com or call Judy at 883-9400. We also took the opportunity to take what may become an historical photo of residents gathered on Depot Street for a photograph. Click on the small picture below for a larger version.

Letters to the Editor By George and Jeanne and in Scarborough Leader August 28, 2009

Media Reports Forecaster August 21, 2009 and Scarborough Current August 21, 2009 and Scarborough Leader August 28, 2009

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August 19, 2009
Town Council Votes 5-2 Against Re-consideration of Closing Depot St. and Exchanging
Land with Lighthouse Motel

SURVEY WORK TO BE DONE BY NORTHEAST CIVIL, DEEDS COMING SOON, ROAD GONE...

CENTURIES-OLD DEPOT STREET (the end of the Pine Point Rd. at right at Pine Point Beach) TO BE CLOSED AND DEEDED TO MOTEL

Many Say This Is Not Over Yet

36 speakers used their 3 minutes at the Council Podium to try one last time to persuade the Council to reverse its decision of July 15th approving the land swap with the motel. About 80 citizens attended, most wearing the buttons below to show community solidarity. Two lawyers from the "Save Old Depot St. Association" presented what were described as fatal legal flaws in the plan because law forbids Towns from giving away property for substantially less value. State Representative Sean Flaherty, who had been working with several state agencies to answer many questions about ownership, title, and state & federal restrictions on the road tried to present his information but was gaveled by the chair after his 3 minutes. Some citizens sacrificed their time to finish reading the legislator's compelling information, which concluded with caution to delay the swap until questions could be answered.

It was expected that Councilors Rancourt or D'Andrea would move a point of order and request a "division of the questions" because the four "orders" authorizing this plan were combined on the agenda for reasons unknown to the public. In June and July there were four separate agenda items allowing citizens to speak four times if they chose. After the two hour public comment period, before the Point of Order could be made, Babine wasted no seconds moving "approval" of the reconsideration in what was described by citizens as a "staged and obvious attempt to prevent the Councilors from raising the Point of Order." Babine and four others immediately voted against the motion and there was no debate on it despite pleas from Professor Paul Kirby to let the public hear their debate over the reconsideration as well as the new information and well-prepared comments presented by the public, lawyers and legislator. Only one person spoke in favor of a "no" vote of the reconsideration; Gene Libby, the attorney for the motel owners, the beneficiaries of the swap (they will receive a gift from the Town of 6787 square feet of shorefront land valued at an estimated $340,000 - $500,000 for free).

Most of the large crowd left after the 60 second end to a summer-long process where 82 citizens spoke to the Council, over 50 letters to the editors appeared, full page ads, a petition with 372 citizens, and numerous contacts with Council members were made. At the end of the meeting, however, during the Council comment period, Roy justified her vote to not reconsider and gave reasons why the exchange was the right decision (although she voted against it in July, then changed her vote on the 3 other orders). Wood repeated his scornful remarks about the public actually saying no one contacted him about this! He finally acknowledged the behavior of the motel owners regarding their illegal use of the motel office, stone wall structure built in the Town street, and barricades on Depot, but said they "weren't relevant" and were more personal issues. Wood had a few more gems but even these were overshadowed by Shawn Babine's diatribe which you have to believe to see. He criticized people, claimed there is no view (unless you climb on top of your car) (Mike Wood said the view is just shifting... they need to get their story straight), claimed to have spoken to so many people supporting the plan, then attributed the infamous "Throumouloses Last Stand" sign to the citizens when the world knew the Trumans put it up, called a citizen a hypocrite, personally attached our State Representative, Sean Flaherty, and went on and on and on. You must watch the Council Comment Period. It is precious.

We have had reports of a potential investigation by the Attorney General, a lawsuit and Temporary Restraining Order, and a new group that has formed as a result of this decision. The group is forming town wide as a result of this and other town abuses of power. There is no referendum provision to overturn many decisions, no recall or dismissal right of citizens, and no accountability because their "rules" prohibit the public from speaking about "individuals." More information about the group and how you can join.

We will continue to share news and opinion as it is received.

 

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Print a button to Wear Wednesday Might to Show Community Unity

Click on Button for Big Version to Print

 

Association Meeting Slide Show

COUNCIL MEETING AUGUST 19th. RECONSIDERATION ITEMS TO APPEAR ON THE AGENDA. PLAN TO ATTEND PLAN TO SPEAK!

AGENDA HERE (This is only page one - the full agenda is available here)

 

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Land Swap Information & Pictures
Click on Blue Links

 

Parking Simulation
A group of citizens lined up cars where the "new" motel parking lot will go to point out the loss of views that Mr. Hall's "deed restrictions" purport to preserve.
Proportion and Value
This is NOT an even land swap. Study this data and images which reveal a very disproportionate exchange. The Motel will be give 1/8 acre of oceanfront land at no charge assessed at about $400,000

Scarborough Leader
Full Page Ad

Scarborough Leader
Full Page Ad PDF Version

Scarborough Leader
Full Page Ad, Several Letters to the Editor in the August 6, 2009 Issue

Jeff Messer Weighs In
The former Council chair and co-worker of the current Council chair offers his wisdom and a bit of misinformation and personal smears. He used to praise the Association at every chance for their "professionalism."

Deed Restrictions
The Town Manager stated these restrictions will preserve public view corridors and beach access.

Land Exchange Proportion
When something is "traded" or exchanged, isn't it generally of equal value? This graphic shows the unequal value to the Town of the plan, and it does NOT include the intangible yet tremendous value to the motel for redevelopment. Interesting fact: the EXCESS land given for free to the motel adds 45% to their tiny lot. good deal.

Town Manager's Plan
The Town Manager's plan as designed by the Town Engineer. Requests will be made to determine who paid for all of the legal and engineering work for this plan.

Can't Park in Front of Motel?
Sure they can. They just don't want to. Why do that when you have a beautiful paved road between your condotel and parking lot. Well, other businesses do it all the time. Here's the new Hospice Center at Oak Hill. Doesn't look too bad. Got approved.

Value of EXCESS Land Motel Gets
An Appraisal should be done to determine the actual value of the 6,700 SF land the motel receives from the town for free. However, using the tax assessor's rate for the motel property, it is possible to determine a value that way, although it does not take into account the significant intangible value to the motel owners.
Pictures Tell a Thousand Words
Anyone who views this might scratch their head when they hear this is a land exchange of equal value.
A Simple Fair Alternative
Move the road southerly a bit and attach their parking to their property. Simple, fair, benefits both the motel and town. There must be a reason why such a simple plan isn't considered.
Tourist Bus
Interesting Picture

Letters to the Editors
Portland Press Herald

 

Letters to the Editor
Scarborough Leader July 24, 2009

Letters to the Editor
Scarborough Leader July 3, 2009

Letters to the Editor
Scarborough Leader June 12, 2009
Judy Shirk Dianne McLellan
Letter to Ed Murphy - Correction
The Association wrote to the reporter to clarify several items which appeared in the August 3, 2009 article about the land swap.

Citizens' Petition Signature - Typed Version
Here is a list of the taxpayers and residents who signed the petition.

Talking Points
Check out these arguments
Save Depot Street Association
Letter to Town Council from this Association's attorney

 

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What is the Proportion of Land Being Swapped? What is its Value

People have asked what the actual exchange dimensions are and the proportion of land being swapped. According to the Town's plans, Of the paved portion only (not the dunes or beach) the Town owns 64% of the land and the motel owns 36%.  Under the Town Manager's plan, the swap would give the motel MORE land and that proportion would be reversed with the Town owing just 36%.  The Motel would own 64% of the land. Click on the Graphic Below. Scroll around to see value calculations. (Note: The motel parking strip dimension of 22.5 feet used by the Town is in conflict with the 21' wide dimension in the deed. We have used the deed dimension in our calculations).

Click Here for the Plans and Value

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Citizens Write to Encourage Reconsideration

Letters to the Editor Scarborough Leader July 24, 2009

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Town Manager Assembling Working Group for Design

E-mail Exchanges Concerning Town Manager's decision to "assemble a small working group to assist staff in the design details for the improvement of the Town-owned land"

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July 15, 2009 Town Council Votes 4-3 to Close Depot Street, Adopt Town Manager's Plan

29 citizens spoke to the Town Council July 15th urging the plan be voted down. 1 Spoke in favor. the Council was presented with a petition with over 350 signatures of residents and others. A slide show was presented by the Association outlining some history and offering an alternatives plan to examine along with others. It appeared from the Council's deliberations that the plan would not pass by 4-3 but at the end of the 3 hour meeting, the vote was 4-3 in favor. The Association met July 19th to consider its next steps. One step is to urge Councilor Sullivan, who initially spoke against the plan but voted in the affirmative to use his right under Council rules to ask for a reconsideration vote. Councilor Roy voted against the plan on the first order, but after having lost, voted in the affirmative on the three subsequent related orders, so she is being urged to ask for reconsideration on those (a Councilor must have voted in the affirmative in order to request reconsideration at the next meeting).

A Second Turnaround Design Presented by Town Planner Bacon at the Public Hearing - Obtained by the Association

View the Meeting Online Here (Fast Forward Feature)

Media Report- Portland Press Herald July 16, 2009

Media Report - Scarborough Current - July 22, 2009

Media Report- Scarborough Leader July 17, 2009

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Citizens Petition Drive
To Maintain Shorefront Road Known as Depot St. (end of Pine Point Rd.)
There is a citizen petition being circulated for presentation to the Town Council at the July 15th Public Hearing
The Petition promotes several important principles regarding preservation of existing shore access on Depot St. and a position on a public-private land exchange presently being considered by the Town Council. Please read the petition and if you wish to sign it you may e-mail your authorization to jshirk@maine.rr.com. Please spread the word. More information below.

Read The Citizens Petition

PUBLIC HEARING JULY 15th 7:00 TOWN HALL
Please attend and voice your opinion on the proposed land swap. The Council wants to hear from you!

 

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Media Reports

Forecaster July 2, 2009

Scarborough Leader Letters to the Editor July 3, 2009

 

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Residents Association Meeting Held June 24, 2009 - Petition Approved

Member of the Association and other interested residents held a meeting at Engine 4 from 6:30 - 9:00. There were approximately 65 people in attendance. The Association leaders presented information on the pending land exchange issue and presented a "Citizens Alternative Plan" crafted by a group of members. Those present endorsed the plan which was presented to the Town Manager by Jack Callahan and Harold Hutchinson. A petition was presented which outlined a set of principles the Association promotes regarding the proposed land swap. The Alternative Plan meets the principles outlined in the petition. The petition was endorsed and signed by 56 citizens at the end of the meeting. Many people took petitions with them to distribute and gather signatures. The meeting concluded with a slide show about the history of this area of Pine Point focusing on the last five years of issues.

Members who have obtained signatures on the Petition are asked to e-mail the names and addresses to Judy Shirk at jshirk@maine.rr.com or John Thurlow at john@thurlow.com, and to keep the originals and get them to us later. Because this is not a petition requiring auditing of signatures (such as a referendum would), people can call or e-mail their authorization to have their names added.

Read The Citizens Petition

The Updated "Citizens Alternative Plan" for a Land Exchange Proposed to the Town Manager

Supporting Document for the Citizen's Alternative Plan

 

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Update to Residents June 19, 2009

Update to Residents Association Members June 19, 2009

Community Flier Alerting Citizens to Issues

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June 17, 2009 Council Meeting

The Town Council Voted a First Reading on the Land Swap proposal with the Motel.They also agreed to hold a public hearing on July 15th, followed by the 2nd Reading and Possibly a Vote. 20 Individuals spoke during public comment period. Details on Covenants, Deed Restrictions, Legal issues, to be worked out. The Manager presented a plan "For Discussion Only" for a Turnaround Concept. The Council was receptive to attending an one hour slide show presentation about the history of the Pine Point Issues before July 15th. Association Representatives Stated it Supports a Land Swap in Concept, as it always has, if it Benefits the Town and Leaves the 100+ year-old Public Road to the shore intact. Association Presents a Conceptual Alternative Swap to Illustrate That there are other possibilities to examine

Links

Watch the meeting online
(you can fast forward through other
items on the agenda).

 

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THE PLAN - REVEALED BY TOWN MANAGER HALL

The Town Manager has released the agenda items and plan for the land swap on Depot Street Friday, June 12th.
THE PLAN CONFIRMS THAT ALL OF THE 50 FOOT DEPOT STREET WILL BE DEEDED TO THE MOTEL
IN EXCHANGE FOR ITS 22 FOOT PARKING STRIP

If Adopted The Public Will No Longer Be Able to Drive Down Depot Street to the Beach
THE PLAN LACKS ANY DETAILS AS TO THE DESIGN, SUCH AS WHERE THE MOTEL PARKING WILL GO
The Council will consider the plan on Wednesday, June 17th
There is no public hearing on the agenda, nor is this a first reading. The Council could vote to authorize deeds that night
Hopefully the item will be tabled and the public will be involved.

Read E-mail Exchanges Between Association and Town (Reverse Chronology)

Read the Association's Update June 13, 2009

Click Here to See The Town Manager's Plan

Click Here to See The Association's Version of the Plan with Comments

Simplified Plan By Association

Click Here to Read the Agenda (Read to the end)

Click Here for an Agenda Addendum - Scroll Down for a Picture

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Town Manager Reveals More Specifics of Plan 2 Days After Council Meeting of June 3, 2009
Judy Shirk Meets with Manager Tom Hall; He Sketches the Plan Being Discussed Privately
To See His Sketch and Comments,
Click Here

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Letters to the Editor June 12, 2009
Judy Shirk Dianne McLellan

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Residents and Association Address The Town Council on Land Exchange. Promote Study and Public Process

Click Here To View Association's Representative Harold Hutchinson's and Other Comments Online

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Forecaster Article June 4, 2009. The Association Regrets Ongoing Incomplete, Unfair Reporting
Click Here

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Citizen Letters to Town Council June 3, 2009
Click Here Please

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Association Update June 2, 2009 Summary of Issues

Click Here Please

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Association Membership Meeting June 24th at 6:30 at Engine 4

All members, prospective members and interested people are urged to attend the General Meeting of the Pine Point Association on June 24th at 6:30. The agenda will include a slide show and update on various issues affecting the neighborhood, a question-answer period, and deliberation on position statements to forward to the Town Council. We are also asking for additional members to serve as part of the leadership group to help with the ever-increasing workload. Following the meeting we will be visiting the Town Parcel next to the Beachwalk and reviewing the painted lines on the street to inform members of the road reconstruction plan. Please pass the word to anyone interested in the future of Pine Point.

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Association Representatives to Address Council Concerning
Potential Land Exchange on Depot Street.

The Town Manager requested that Judy Shirk contact him for information on Friday, May 29th.
Judy met with him and he informed her that he met with the motel owners on Thursday (29th) and the Town Attorney
is working out details on a land exchange. Judy reported he indicated the town would exchange the parking strip for the street, that there
would be parking for the motel away from the structure, and there would be some sort of drop off.

The Representatives held a meeting on Saturday, May 30th, to discuss our response to this news.
We have been waiting for information for several weeks and the opportunity to respond.
We concluded that there will be insufficient time to respond given this time frame. We also learned that the land exchange was
discussed in a Council executive session. We will be addressing the Council on these matters and urging a careful study.

In an e-mail to the Association following the meeting with Judy Shirk, Mr. Hall wrote the following:

From: Thomas Hall [mailto:THall@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 3:34 PM
To: Pine Point Residents Association
Cc: Michael Wood; Carol Rancourt

Subject: RE: Spam: Letter from the Pine Point Residents Association Concerning Depot Street
John et. Al. – I have been asked several times whether I will be responding to your letter.  Frankly, I am not sure which letter you are referring to.  If it is the most recent communication of May 3, 2009 I do not see that a response is requested.   I very much appreciate the information that you have provided regarding the history of related matters and I assure you that I have kept them in mind as I continue to discuss the possibility of a land swap with the Truman’s.  As I explained to Judy Shirk last week and again today, those discussions are proceeding, but the earliest something would go before the Town Council is June 17, 2009.  That is all I am at liberty to say at this juncture as the discussions are in process and any agreement remains tentative at best.   Please advise if there is a specific response you are expecting. 

Thomas Hall,
Scarborough Town Manager

Click Here to Read the Association's Statement

 

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E-mail Exchanges Town Manager and Association, May 2009
Relating to Land Exchange and Wendel Road Reconstruction Plan

Click Here to Read

Click Here for Association Questions Regarding Change of Committee's Plan Calling for SIDEWALK and ESLPANADE ACROSS Depot Street

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Association Representatives Write Town Manager & Council
Concerning Renewed Land Exchange Discussions at Depot St.
Urge Careful Study and Public Input

Click Here to Read the April 30, 2009 Letter (Large PDF file)

Town Manager Tom Hall Exchanges E-mail Regarding Land Swap Discussions, Association Responds, Request Information

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Association Provided with Professionally Drawn Plan of Road Improvements
Recommended to the Council and Funded for Fall Construction

Click Here to View the Plan (Large PDF file)

Click Here for a Picture of the Plan Color Enhanced by The Association

Click Here for Association Questions Regarding Change of Committee's Plan Calling for SIDEWALK and ESLPANADE ACROSS Depot Street

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Membership Drive

Please Read Our Membership Drive Letter and Join Our Effort
Scarborough Leader Article

To Join, Email Judy Shirk at jshirk@maine.rr.com

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Legal Agreements Between Town and Beachwalk Provided by Town Manager Hall
Three Documents Sought by Association for 2 Years
Documents Reveal Town Concessions to Avoid Potential Legal Action By Beachwalk Due to Town's Failure to Collect Performance Bond
Town Paved Private Road at Taxpayers' Expense, Provided Beachwalk with Performance Guaranty Funds

Click Here to Read the Documents - Document 1 - August 20, 2007

Click Here to Read the Documents - Document 2 - October 2, 2007

Click Here to Read the Documents - Document 3 - November 20, 2007

 

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Pine Point Pier Moving Forward

Article in the Scarborough Current, March 19, 2009

Pier Design Sketch (Poor Quality PDF File)

 

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Pine Point Loses a Great Lady

We acknowledge the passing New Years Day of Patricia DeGrinney, a member of the Residents Association, long-time resident of Pine Point, and founder of the Friends of Pine Point. Pat was responsible for starting the annual 4th of July parade which has become a wonderful tradition in Pine Point. She was a truly wonderful lady and will be terribly missed by all. You can read about her extraordinary life below.

pat


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Online Slide Show Now Available

Click Here for a Slide Show Outlining the History of Issues in Pine Point 2004 - 2008

(this is a large file, please be patient while it loads)

 

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Pine Point Study Committee Concludes

The plan was presented to the Council January 7, 2009.
The Association was not fully successful in its goals.
Please read these documents for more detailed information (read bottom to top for sequence)

Scarborough Leader Letter to Editor from Association January 2009

Scarborough Leader Editor Asks for Clarification of Association Letter and Assn. Response

Association Letter to Council Concerning the DeWan Landscape Plan Commissioned After the Committee Ended it Work

Scarborough Leader Article Reporting Committee Recommendations to Council January 15, 2009

Terry DeWan Plan for Landscaping the Town Land next to the Beachwalk Presented to Town Council January 7, 2009

Pine Point Study Committee Report to Town Council Prepared by the Facilitator

Wendel Plan Presented to the Town Council January 7, 2009

 

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Pine Point Study Committee Meetings

The Study Committee authorized by the Town Council has been meeting regularly.
All but one have been taped. Minutes of the meetings, however, have not been posted to
the Town's website as required by the Council.

 

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Pine Point Study Committee Meeting Schedule

The meetings are televised and played on Ch. 3.

THURSDAY, 9/18 at 6:30  (Town Hall. In the future, meetings will be held at the high school where they can be televised)

THURSDAY, 10/2, 6:30, TUESDAY, 10/7, 6:30    (Tuesday), THURSDAY, 10/16, 6:30

THURSDAY, 10/23, 6:30, THURSDAY, 10/30, 6:30

.

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Pine Point Study Committee Packet Provided to Members Sept. 10th

This packet of information was provided to the members of the committee.
It is a large PDF file and may take some time to load.

Click here for the Packet

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Councilor Mike Wood Responds to Statement

 

From: Michael Wood [mailto:mjwood@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 9:49 PM
To: Pine Point Residents Group
Cc: rmbi1@maine.rr.com
Subject: Introspection

 

Hello All,

I think one of most complimentary traits one can have is that of being introspective.  A quiet examination of one’s own thoughts can be very valuable. 

I recently received some well placed and constructive criticism on how my comments during the Council’s deliberations on adding another member to the workgroup were actually heard and potentially interpreted.

Like all of you, I can become quite passionate on a subject.  And while my passion may be easily conveyed, my message many times loses its’ effectiveness in the process.

Please know that my interest is solely that of completing the public improvements that Pine Point so desperately deserves and needs.  I know that your cause is sincere and genuine.  I applaud all of you for so effectively working together to see your vision to completion and hope that it soon will be a reality.  We share much in common on this subject.  Although, I am frustrated to have witnessed the seemingly lengthy process first from the Planning Board perspective and now the Town Council, I am confident that at the end, it will be worth it. 

We will no doubt disagree on a detail here or there, but I hope that you know that I truly wish to only expedite the day when all of us can enjoy an improved Pine Point.

In closing, please accept my apology for delivering a message that likely came across as critical of the exceptional people who comprise the Pine Point Residents Association.   My only interest was, and still is, to support initiatives that help us arrive at a satisfactory conclusion sooner rather than later.

Introspectively,

Mike Wood



Michael Wood

"Knowledge Speaks but Wisdom Listens"

 

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Pine Point Study Committee to Meet September 10, 2008

4:00 p.m. Town Hall.

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Three Seat open on Council. Only 2 File Papers

Write-in Candidate could be elected with little effort. Pine Point needs representation on Council, members state.

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Council Hires New Town Manager

From 9 Year Post as Rockland's Town Manager. Begins work in November. Salary set at $104,000.00.

Read Story Here

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Letters to Editor Responding to Current Article of August 28, 2008

Representatives send one official letter. Other Members send personal letter
Will present at the September 3, 2008 Council Meeting

Read Letters Here

 

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Letter to Chairman Jeff Messer Regarding Study Committee

Concerning the Appointment of Representatives to the Pine Point Study Committee
Asks for Clarification of Premature Planned Landscaping of Town Parcel at Beachwalk

Read the Letter Here

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Current Article Headline Appears August 29th

Representatives Intend to Respond to Set the Record Straight

current

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Minutes of Residents Group Annual Meeting
Thursday, August 21st, 2008 at 6:00 p.m.
New Town Parcel at the Beachwalk
34 Members in Attendance, Several Unable to Attend Sent Messages and Feedback

Read Minutes Here

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Residents Group Annual Meeting
Thursday, August 21st, 2008 at 6:00 p.m.
New Town Parcel at the Beachwalk
Please bring a lawn chair
Poor Weather Location: Engine 4 Fire Station

 

You are cordially invited to attend a meeting of the Pine Point Residents Group on Thursday, August 21 at 6:00 at the municipal land abutting the Beachwalk Subdivision.  We will have a short business meeting and time for members to view the parcel of land the Town acquired from the Beachwalk. The Town Council has established a committee to make recommendations about the future use of this small but precious parcel along with other issues related to the end of the Pine Point Rd., so any ideas our representative can pass along will be appreciated.  We recommend you bring a lawn chair and if the weather is poor we will hold our meeting at the Fire Station.

 

For the Pine Point Residents Group,

 

Elaine Richer, Jack Callahan, Sue Perrino, Judy Mushial, John Thurlow, Judy Shirk, Harold Hutchinson

 

 

Notice to Group...

To Members of the Pine Point Residents Group and others on the Pine Point Mailing List:

 

 

Please join us next      Thursday, August 21st at 6:00     for a gathering

of the Residents Group and guests.  Location: The new Town land next to the Beachwalk Subdivision across from the Lighthouse motel.  Alternative location if poor weather: Engine 4 Fire Station.  We apologize for the late notice, but we've been waiting for Town approval of the location.

 

 

As you know, we are now in our 4th year of working to promote responsible decision-making by Town officials on matters related to Pine Point. We have had some success, but it appears that we will be entering a fifth year before we're done achieving our goals. We continue to try to build our e-mail list so more and more people can stay informed. While not every person who receives our mailings necessarily agree with our group's position on the issues, at least they are being kept apprised of decisions affecting the neighborhood, and of our editorial views.

 

A recent example was the sale of a 10,000 square foot lot of town-owned land that was part of Hurd Park.  Many people were completely unaware that the Town sold a portion of the Park and many objected.  The objections heard most often were the Town's failure to inform the public and seek input.  In a very dense area of Town, open space for people to enjoy is at a premium.

That is why we have worked so diligently to see Depot St. reclaimed for public use after years of restrictions and private use there.  Furthermore, the sale of public land is a permanent decision, so it deserves public attention.

 

We have planned this Annual Meeting to update members and other interested citizens on our work this past year, and to let everyone know what will be happening in the next few months regarding issues in Pine Point. 

 

The meeting will be at the new "Town Land" which our Group worked hard to acquire from the developer of the Beachwalk subdivision across from the Lighthouse Motel. We thought everyone might like to see the parcel - now that the boundaries are identified. This small parcel will help maintain views (it was originally planned as a building lot) and will eventually be developed as a Town resource once a newly formed committee makes its recommendations.  Our hopes continue that it may someday become part of larger project including Depot St. from King St. to the Beach.  We suggest you dress warmly for that famous ocean breeze, but if weather is really poor we will meet at the Fire Station as we have in the past.  Also, you may want to bring a lawn chair or blanket for your comfort (the area is now just gravel).  The meeting will last about one hour.

 

____________________________________________________________________________

 

UPDATES

 

RESIDENTS GROUP REQUESTED NEW COMMITTEE

 

Our recent proposal to the Town Council to initiate another study of the Depot Street area was received favorably and the Town Council approved it and ordered its work to begin in September.  Elaine Richer and Jack Callahan have agreed to share our group's one representative on the committee by rotating their attendance.  We lobbied for an additional representative, but the Council has not yet rules on that. The committee must conclude its work by the end of the year, but likely sooner.  The scope of the study includes the proposed rebuilding of the end of the Pine Point Rd. (a small section from East Grand to King Street) including the barricade by the Lighthouse Motel. The Town Engineer designed a rebuilding project last spring and we learned about it two weeks before the summer construction was to commence, so we immediately requested a meeting to get details for you.  That very night the Town Manager, apparently sensing "concerns," postponed the project until the committee could make recommendations.  Our effort to include Depot St. itself was unsuccessful because the Council felt it would become too large of a project, but the Council did include in the scope of the study the parcel of land at the Beachwalk which now belongs to the citizens of Scarborough. Council members want recommendations on what is to be done with it now; so people don't get used to it being open space and then potentially becoming alarmed later when it takes on some use.  

 

We felt it fitting, therefore, to hold our meeting at this small piece of public property so we can show you what it is and what it may someday become, and to celebrate our success at lobbying for it.  To find it, simply go to the entrance to Claudia Way at the Beachwalk across from the Lighthouse Inn, and the travel easement to it and the parcel will be marked.

Please respect the private property of the Beachwalk residents which includes their private road, by staying on public property. We hope to have some markings put in place.

 

If it rains we will meet at the Fire Station.

 

The meeting is:   THURSDAY, AUGUST 21st at 6:00 at the Town Parcel  (Fire

Station if raining)

 

____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

AGENDA

 

AGENDA:

 

(You are invited to review the archives of the issues over the past three

and a half years at    www.pinepointbeach.com  )

 

 

Jack Callahan:  Welcome and showcase the parcel and how it came about.

John Thurlow: Reports on various issues

Judy Shirk: membership drive

 

 

ACTION FOR GROUP

 

1. Approve Sue Perrino, Judy Mushial and Elaine Richer as additional representatives of the group (and any others nominated and willing to join the leadership team)

 

2. Approve Elaine and Jack to serve on the Town Council's committee

 

3. Reaffirm our previous positions on the issues of:

    The Barricade on Depot Street, the proposed Land Swap between the Town and Lighthouse Motel, Access to Depot Street

 

4. Consider and approve changing our group's name to    "Pine Point

Residents Association"   because of the continuing and apparently

unavoidable confusion over the years. There is no Pine Point Association; it is now called "The Friends of Pine Point" and it is a social and community service group." Changing our name will hopefully avoid misunderstandings.

 

5. Taxes - looming revaluation:  consider establishing a committee to study Pine Point's tax base and the impact of new development on values during the next revaluation.

 

6. Rights of Way: several members have asked that we study the rights of way throughout Pine Point due to some misunderstanding of which are public, for example, you might remember people asking about Dunefield Lane across from Avenue Three. The town, we learned, put up a sign stating "No Beach Access"

and we were asked to look into it. We learned that Dunefield is a public road which connects directly to a fifty foot Town Right of Way known as Avenue 4 Extension (a path which runs parallel to the Municipal Parking Lot at Hurd Park). This is an example, then, of the Town making an error when it installed a sign essentially restricting access. We will propose another committee to look into Easements and rights-of-way in Pine Point.

 

7.  Report on Speed Issues and establish a team to explore speed tables or other alternatives to make Pine Point safer

 

8.  New Pier status: report on engineering and funding

 

9. Report on the condotel status and legal action opportunities

 

10. The "Fence" abutting the Town parcel erected by the owners of the Lighthouse Inn 10. Ideas from Group member for the use of this parcel for the representatives to bring to the Town Council committee

 

11. Comments about the road reconstruction plan mentioned above for the representatives to bring to the Town Council committee

 

12. Any other ideas from the Group; issues affecting Pine Point (Ron Owens retirement and his replacement, Three Town Council seats open and our need for a candidate from Pine Point. The deadline for filing nomination papers is September 3rd. ONLY 25 signatures are required, so if anyone is interested, please get your forms from Town Hall and you may get all you need that night!

 

13. Member issues

 

14. A Group photo at the New Town Land

 

 

Membership Drive: please make sure we have your email address and anyone's you know who might want to be added. We'd like to build our membership.

 

 

www.pinepointbeach.com

 

 

 

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Town Council Approves Residents Group Request for a Study
June 18, 2008

Town

 

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Town Council Approves Residents Group Request for a Study
June 18, 2008

A Prepared Motion on the Council's Agenda Excluded Several Areas of Study the PPRG Wanted to See Examined
Residents Group Leaders Presented Proposed Amendments to the Motion and an Aerial Map
Town Council Concurs with Most Items, Wants to Keep Study Focused
Council Chair Suggests Facilitator be Retained, Council Agrees

The Town Council June 18th heard Residents Group leaders Judy Shirk, Sue Perrino and Harold Hutchinson present suggestions as a follow-up to our proposal to reinitiate the study of the Depot Street area that was terminated two years ago. This proposal came as a result of a plan to "reconstruct" the Pine Point Rd. from Jones Creek Drive to King St. The plan, drawn by Town Engineer Jim Wendell, called for yet another modification (not removal) of the barricade to the public road known as Depot St. which runs from King St to the beach. It also meant summer construction, appeared to be a substantial project, and the public had not received sufficient notice.

The Council amended the prepared motion by reviewing our items, and voted to have a longer study period (to November 5th), they will hire a facilitator to keep the work focused, will hold all meetings in the Council chamber so the public can attend, will keep minutes and publish them on the Town website. t Council also removed the restriction in the prepared motion that would NOT allow the committee to consider removal of the barricade.

Several Councilors spoke in favor of the study including public access to the Town parcel surrounded by Claudia Way. It was clear from their comments that the Town needs to determine the use of the parcel soon so residents of the new subdivision get used to it as is. That was one of our group's strongest proposals.

While we were very pleased with the Council's support and their complimentary statements about our Group, we had hoped to get more representation on the Committee. We had proposed four residents, but they chose one. Their concerns were that the committee would become too large to work efficiently. They may reconsider the composition at their July meeting. We also had hoped that the Committee could begin meeting this summer so they could decide how to gather traffic and use information to be used in the fall. Again, they may take action on doing some sort of data gathering at their July meeting. The last Council Committee spent much time on design plans for Depot Street and four designs were done for that area by the Town's traffic engineers. Also, the landscape architect for the Beachwalk subdivision created a concept plan for Depot St. We would like the committee to look at those plans and include Depot. St. in the scope, particularly because any modifications to the end of the Pine Point Rd. are likely to affect Depot St. Finally, the drainage concerns Mr. Wendell was trying to address did not include significant water issues on King Street by the fire station. We had hoped that area would be included, but the Council narrowed the study area. They did say that nothing would prevent the Council from expanding the scope in the future.

So all in all it was good news for the Group. The Council clearly respects our input and recognizes the frustrations we've endured.

 

Click Here for a Copy of the Residents Group's Follow-up Proposal and Map

Click Here for Article in Forecaster June 19, 2008

Click Here for Residents Group Leaders' Response (available soon)

 

 

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Town Manager Will Not Put Group's Request to Present a Proposal to Council.
Council Chair Overrules, Item is on June 18, 2008 Agenda

Group Leaders Will Request that the Previous Council Committee which never concluded it work reconvene to consider many unresolved issues, including the new issue which is documented below.


Please Click here to Read The Group's Letter to the Council
sent after the
Town Manager would not place our Group's request on the June 2, 2008 agenda
The Proposal is included within this document

 

TOWN MANAGER AUTHORIZED SUMMER ROAD CONSTRUCTION BY TOWN AT BEACHWALK

RESIDENTS GROUP LEADERS RESPOND

E-mail exchanges

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Ron Owens [mailto:ROwens@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2008 2:18 PM
To: pine-point-beach@maine.rr.com
Cc: Jim Wendel
Subject: FW: Pine Pt Reconstruction-Curb Matching, The Lighthouse Motel

John, et al,

PW will be doing so work on Pine Point Road this Spring to both address some problems and to improve that section of roadway in coordination with the Beachwalk Subdivision.  Jim is recommending a slight redesign of the entrance to Depot Street rounding out some of the edges and increasing its functionality.  I thought you might like to see the recommended design and offer any comments.  It would be helpful if you could respond by May 14th.  If you have any specific questions with the design you can contact Jim directly.

Thanks,

 

Ron Owens
Town of Scarborough
207 730-4031

__________________________________________________________________________________________

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Wendel
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2008 2:01 PM
To: Ron Owens
Cc: Mike Shaw
Subject: Pine Pt Reconstruction-Curb Matching, The Lighthouse Motel

Ron-Attached is my sketch and a memo discussing why and what I am trying to achieve.

James T. Wendel, PE
Town Engineer
207-730-4043 phone
207-730-4046 fax

 

Here is a sketch of the Wendell Plan

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Pine Point Residents Group [mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 1:42 AM
To: 'Ron Owens'
Subject: RE: Pine Pt Reconstruction-Curb Matching, The Lighthouse Motel

Mr. Owens:

Thank you for your mail below dated May 8th.  We have read Jim Wendel’s memo and examined the sketch but do not have a full understanding of what is planned there. In all honesty it is a bit technical so we have not forwarded it to the full group until we can get clarification.  Would it be possible for some of our representatives to meet and learn more?  Also, when you designed the replacement barrier your Public Works Dept. was able to create a rendering of what is planned which was a valuable visual.

We are naturally surprised that any change is contemplated for the area where the barricades once stood in the public road since this was finally resolved after a long and contentious process.  You will recall that you told the motel owners two years ago to cease putting up the orange barrels in the street as they had for 16 years. You then had Public Works install a permanent year-round barricade (you referred to as a “raised berm” which our group objected to and judged to me more restrictive to public access that the barrels were.  Furthermore we believed that it gave more of an impression that the road was motel property, which has been our long-standing contention.  We asked the Council to become involved and they ordered a substantial portion of the barricade removed to the satisfaction of most.  We certainly hope that a fourth design to restrict public access to that street and the beach is not contemplated.  A comprehensive history of this important neighborhood issue (and a slide presentation) is available on our Group’s website at www.pinepointbeach.com for any recipient of this email to review (scroll down to locate the barricade issues and media reports from 2006).

When do you anticipate beginning this work?

Will there be a public hearing or neighborhood gathering prior to the design being finalized?  We always disclaim that we do not represent all residents of Pine Point, only those who have joined in our efforts to lobby for various policies.  We have approximately 90 members.  All voices should be heard.

Has the press been informed? Any issue surrounding the Lighthouse Inn/Condominiums brings on controversy, and this may be particularly true following the April 2nd Council Meeting when the “Change of Use” position by the Town on the “Condotel” was officially reversed to the strong objection of our group.  You surely will understand that any projects done there have the potential to upset residents.

We will repeat our positions on this for you to consider:

  1. Any decisions made should be fully disclosed and proposed to the Council and public input allowed.
  2. The process should not be rushed.  Your email indicated “PW will be doing …  work on Pine Point Road this Spring” which ends in just a few weeks.
  3. Insure that the 300 foot end of the road is clearly a public access area for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and is safe for all, including motel guests.  The compromise the Council reached in the fall of 2006 by ordering the reduction of the curbing satisfied the group to some extent.
  4. Take necessary measures to eliminate the de facto privatization of the road for use by the motel
  5. Take measures to end the ongoing private uses of the public way for motel activities such as guests’ children playing in the street, guests loading and unloading cars, RV’s, etc., by backing up to the rooms in the street, owners attempts to stop motorists from using the road (the 4th of July is one example where the owners try to restrict access), motel maintenance van consistently parking illegally alongside the motel, etc.
  6. Provide for and encourage, through signage and road markings, handicap access and parking at the end of the street. There is no handicap parking at the ocean in Pine Point.
  7. Provide for a safe turnaround such as a hammerhead at the end of the street.
  8. Require removal of the stone wall the owners constructed in the public way at a dangerous curve. This structure differs from the normal shrubbery found on most house lots which are in the public way due to its immense size, permanence and unsafe location. We disagree with your position that this structure can remain there because if you had it removed you would have to require others to remove their vegetation or fencing.   
  9.  

 

As far as the Beachwalk subdivision is concerned, the developer Paul Hollis agreed at the Planning Board (see meeting tape and minutes of 10/6/2006) to install a five foot wide, granite curbed sidewalk from the intersection of East Grand Ave. and the Pine Point Rd. to Claudia Way.  We wonder if that is still going to happen or if the Town is undertaking that part of his project?  If so, at what cost and will the new developer(s) be reimbursing the Town?

You committed to us that appropriate signage would be installed at the easement/entrance to the Town-owned property surrounded by Claudia Way for at least two purposes; to ensure that the Beachwalk homeowners understand that this 3200 SF parcel is public property and therefore can be accessed by the public, and secondly so the public recognizes it as such. That land was deeded to the Town so Mr. Hollis could take advantage of Section VII of the ordinance for some relief of standards. We remain anxious to know what the Town intends to do and when.  If a plan is being developed in conjunction with the Beachwalk, then perhaps that parcel and access to it should be part of the plan.  The Planning Board required that a plan be developed by Hollis and approved by the Town.

We continue to believe that the safety issues which exist in this area (which Mr. Wendell references is his memo) is sufficient cause for the Town to give very serious consideration to erecting a fence along the motel side of the street for the protection of guests and to end the unsafe private use of the street. You indicated in your report to the Council of April 2nd that public safety would be the justification for the Town to install a fence there. We encourage the fence be included in the design process.  The fence should be identical to the one erected by the owners on the opposite side of the road and that would help ameliorate, as we stated, the privatization issues as well as safety ones.  If this is included in a plan, it may also bring the owners back to the table to work with the Town and Residents since a fence in front of their motel/condos would likely cause them similar consternation as their fence has caused a great many residents whose public ocean vistas were lost.

Thank you once again for informing our group. We look forward to your response.

 

Judy Shirk, Harold Hutchinson, Sue Perrino, John Thurlow, Jack Callahan, Elaine Richer
Representatives of the Residents Group

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Ron Owens [mailto:ROwens@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:50 AM
To: Pine Point Residents Group
Cc: Jim Wendel
Subject: RE: Pine Pt Reconstruction-Curb Matching, The Lighthouse Motel

John,

I suggest you contact Jim Wendel to discuss his proposed plan.  The road is going to be reconstructed in the next few weeks along with the work required by Beachwalk.  Jim has proposed a slight redesign of the intersection with Depot to help it blend in with the reconstruction work that is going to be done.   I suggest you meet with Jim to understand his design.  The changes are minimal but mainly blend the existing configuration into the new entrance to Claudia and provide access and install the sidewalk.

Ron

Ron Owens
Town of Scarborough
207 730-4031

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Pine Point Residents Group [mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2008 8:25 AM
To: jwendel@ci.scarborough.me.us; Mike Shaw
Subject: Pine Point Rd. King Street Work

Dear Mr. Wendel and Mr. Shaw:

Could a group of Pine Point residents meet with you to learn more about the plan designed for road changes in Pine Point at the Beachwalk subdivision.  We would like to propose this Wednesday, 5/21 at 3:45 at Town Hall or the site if that is more convenient.

Thank you for your consideration.

For the Resident Group

Judy Shirk
Harold Hutchinson
John Thurlow
Jack Callahan
Elaine Richard
Sue Perrino

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Jim Wendel [mailto:JWendel@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 9:59 AM
To: Pine Point Residents Group; Mike Shaw
Subject: RE: Pine Point Rd. King Street Work

Neighborhood Group-Yes, the mtg is on in the Town Managers Conference room.

James T. Wendel, PE
Town Engineer
207-730-4043 phone
207-730-4046 fax

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Pine Point Residents Group [mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Wed 5/21/2008 8:06 AM
To: 'Pine Point Residents Group'; Jim Wendel; Mike Shaw
Subject: RE: Pine Point Rd. King Street Work

Dear Mr. Wendell,

Are you available to meet this afternoon at 3:45 (or later in the afternoon) at Town Hall with representatives from the Pine Point Residents Group concerning the matter below?

Thank you

Judy, Jack, John, Elaine, Susan, Harold
Residents Group Representatives

__________________________________________________________________________________________

May 21, 2008 Meeting

 

Representatives of the Residents Group met with Jim Wendell and Mike Shaw (Director of Public Works) and asked questions about the road project at the Beachwalk. We stated repeatedly that we were not there to criticize their plans but to ask questions to inform the neighborhood. We told them that any action on our part was no reflection on them and that they may very well have a good plan, but we needed details.

We saw the Town manager in the parking lot after our meeting. He was on his way home to "get some dinner" before that night's Town Council meeting. We thanked him for his staff's time. He didn't mention that the project was on that night's agenda.

That evening, he gave his report and stated:

“as you might expect we’ve not been able to reach any kind of consensus or buy in on any of the improvements…”

This phrase "as you might expect" was unnecessary, but worse was the absolute untruth he told to the Council. Below is our response.

When we reviewed the details of the plan and talked with abutters, it was clearly a significant project and would be very disruptive. There were also many more unanswered questions and no public involvement (other than what we asked for).

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Pine Point Residents Group [mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:51 AM
To: 'Pine Point Residents Group'
Subject: RE: Pine Pt Reconstruction-Curb Matching, The Lighthouse Motel
Importance: High

Mr. Owens,

We were surprised to hear you state in your Manager’s report last evening that the project in Pine Point would not be done because

“as you might expect we’ve not been able to reach any kind of consensus or buy in on any of the improvements…”

Members of our group met with Mr. Wendel and Mr. Shaw yesterday from 3:45 – 4:50. The purpose of the meeting, as you suggested below, was to gather information. We replied to your first mailing that the sketch you sent earlier was unclear and technical and requested the meeting.

The meeting was very productive and helpful.  We left there with much more information to convey to the neighbors.  We had NO position on the plan, naturally, because we did not have all of the information. There were concerns we had QUESTIONS about. 

Several neighbors saw you in the parking lot at 5:00 p.m. and thanked you for your staff’s time.  You said you were going home for dinner before the Council meeting. We had no conversation about the plan with you.

We did not know it was on the agenda for that evening, but learned it from a Town Council member before the meeting.  We were surprised once again.  We asked the Councilors that it be stated that our group would appreciate some time to ask questions and share the information with others. Unfortunately we had very little notice about this project, which we did not perceive as a “slight” project.

Your statements to the Council about” consensus or buy in” are absolutely untrue and how you reached such a conclusion within an hour or two of our meeting with your staff is difficult to understand, particularly since we have had no conversation with you.

As we always have, we seek information, inform our group and take positions on issues relevant to Pine Point.  The information gathering had just begun.

Please explain why you stated what you did to our elected officials.

We would like to formally request this matter be placed on the agenda for the next Council meeting and that the plan as proposed be presented to the Council.  They authorized the barricade at Depot Street in 2006 and its alteration a few months later.  This plan did alter that once again, so Council action is certainly an expectation.  We also feel the public should have ample opportunity to respond to a plan such as this.  To simply scrap a plan without presenting it publicly is not much different from creating it without public notification and involvement.  As you know, it called for construction of the arguably busiest road in Pine Point after Memorial Day.  If this plan is in the budget for FY 07 then we assume it has been planned for some time.  We just learned of it.

We were interested to hear you talk about meeting with residents who are affected by the Dunstan Sidewalk plan.  The neighborhood meetings about the rebuilding of Jasper Street were helpful.  The Black Point Park meetings apparently made a difference. That is good policy.

 

Judy Shirk, Harold Hutchinson, Sue Perrino, John Thurlow, Jack Callahan, Elaine Richer
Representatives of the Residents Group

__________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Ron Owens [mailto:ROwens@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 10:43 AM
To: Pine Point Residents Group
Cc: Carol Rancourt ; Chris Vaniotis ; ContactMesser; Judy Roy ; Michael Wood; Mike Wood ; Richard Sullivan ; Ron Ahlquist; Sylvia Most ; Tody Justice; Callahan, Jack & Janet ; Elaine Richer; Harold Hutchinson; john@thurlow.com; Shirk, Judy ; Sue Perrino ; Jim Wendel; Mike Shaw
Subject: RE: Pine Pt Reconstruction-Curb Matching, The Lighthouse Motel

John, 

The decision not to move forward this Spring results from Mike Shaw reporting that there was no consensus on the proposed improvements and that the association would not be meeting until the second week of June which means that it would be too late to do any work this Spring.  This will give everyone the summer to think about the plan and come to some consensus on how to move forward.  If we have agreed to a course of action by the end of the summer then we can consider making some improvements after Labor Day.   Probably most of the abutters to the Street would prefer that anyway.

What was scheduled initially were a grinding and resurfacing of the road during May/June that would take 2 to 3 days but we also thought this would be an opportunity to make some needed improvements.  Obviously it will take longer to build a consensus on some the suggested improvements by the Town Engineer than the next two weeks, so it only makes sense to defer any street improvements until the Association, Public Works and Engineering have reached agreement on a plan for the area.   The Council would only be involved in approving the other improvements because it would require spending more than Public Works has allocated for maintenance of the street.  I will not present any plan for those other improvements until there is an agreement with the association on a plan.

Ron

 

Ron Owens
Town of Scarborough
207 730-4031

__________________________________________________________________________________________

The leaders of the Group met and decided to go directly to the Council. We talked with individual Council members and wrote the letter that appears above.

 

 

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Lighthouse Condos Marketed

Rooms of 324 square feet (16 x 20 +/-) available for only $239,000 (view of the street, stockade fence and parking lot)
$269,000 view of the street, fence, parking lot, Beachwalk mansions and some of the Ocean)
15% off if you buy before renovation.

http://web.mac.com/lighthouseinn/Site/Welcome.html

Brochure Online (takes time to load)

Brochure Downloaded

 

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Town Administration Submits Report to Council
Lighthouse Condos: Residents Group Responds


Resident Group representatives receive 111 page Report One Day Before April 2nd Council Meeting
Resident Group Members Read Document and Craft Responses During the next 24 hours
Town Manager Summarizes Report at Council Meeting (4/2)
5 of 6 Council Members (Wood absent) Comment after Residents Group Members Read Statements: All Regretting Outcome, Appear No Further Action Forthcoming

Residents Group members are urged to review these documents and send their comments to the mail list.
We will need to determine the next steps we wish to take, if any.

 

Click Here to Read the 111 Page Report (much of which are attachments)

Click Here to Read Residents Group Members Statements in Response to Report and Press Release

Click Here to Read Article in the Forecaster April 4 2008 (after Council meeting)

Click Here to Read Article in the Current April 3, 2008 (prior to report being issued)

 

 

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Town Administration Approves Lighthouse Motel Condo Conversion

Public Not Informed Despite 3-year Debate and Pending Ordinance -
Resident Group Member Discovers Town's Decision By Chance
Group's Representatives Request Formal Investigation by the Town Council
No Action in Past 6 Months on "Condotel Ordinance" Draft Tabled by the Town Council on September 5, 2007

What follows is e-mail correspondence concerning this latest development, and a comprehensive list of questions the
Representative of the Residents Group sent to the Town. The questions may give you a sense of what some of
the scenarios might be should this be allowed to happen.


To read the questions first
Click Here

March 16, 2008
By E-mail to 144 recipients

To members of the Pine Point Residents Group and others on the Pine Point Mailing List:

Attached is a PDF file of our research and questions for the Town concerning its unexpected reversal on the Condotel issue.  As you know, the Town Council has been working on an ordinance to regulate these conversions for over a year. The new ordinance would have formalized the Town’s policy that these conversions are, indeed, a “Change of Use” of non-conforming motels and would require Town approval(s).  The last Town Council action on this matter was to table it and refer it back to the Ordinance Committee of the Council.

In the interim, two lodging places in Pine Point went through the Zoning Board process and received approvals to convert. They essentially honored the existing rules and the Town’s position that they needed approval.  Their presentations were well-received.

The Lighthouse Motel went through no such process, but filed their condo declarations at the Registry despite the Town’s policy. So the Town filed a notice in the Registry of Deeds to essentially prevent any sales of condos at that location.

The new ordinance draft is still unfinished after a year, yet the Town Manager (we learned quite by accident) reversed the Town’s position last month based on a few changes to the Lighthouse Motel’s Condo documents.  He wrote:

Ron Owens, Town Manager
February 7, 2008

The Trumans are revising their declarations to be clear that the motel will continue to operate as seasonal motel and that there will be no change of use, which is the only issue on which the town could regulate. The Town cannot regulate the form of ownership but we had argued that would they proposed and filed in the condo declarations was essentially a change of use in that it was unclear that motel would continue to operate as a motel...

This was unacceptable to us. It was not a Town Council decision, but was made at the administrative level. We reviewed the revisions the owners made and found nothing to protect the public from an unregulated conversion of this motel into 22 condos on 1/3 (one-third) acre of land.  The land/road exchange, remaining barricade, stockade fence and other issues were also not addressed.

We replied to Mr. Owens and he replied in turn:

 

FROM: Ron Owens
February 11, 2008 3:54 PM
To: Pine Point Residents Group

Despite all the rhetoric, the Lighthouse will continue to operate as a motel subject to the town’s ordinances and permits on a seasonal basis, the only difference is that the individual rooms can be individually owned motel rooms.   The use remains the same and still subject to the same restrictions as a non-conforming building.  The Trumans had a series of options they could have chosen but what they choose was to structure their venture so that the town would not have a viable legal argument to classify their plan as a change of use.  It is not perfect and it is not what we would have preferred but legally, when they changed their declarations, the town lost its option to prevent the change in ownership.  It is not the outcome we had hoped to achieve. 

As you know we have spent many hours on this issue to first replace the building with a very attractive structure and relocate the roadway to provide better access to the beach and when that option was withdrawn by the owners, we attempted to find ways to encourage them to address the issues of beach access along the lines of what you and your members wanted but then again it was dependent on the exercise of a controversial legal strategy that change of ownership and unlimited use of the units equaled a change in use under the zoning ordinance.  When the owner decided to revise their declarations to restrict the use to a seasonal motel, we arrived at the end of our ability to change or affect the situation.   It is easy to try to assess blame for the final outcome but a different outcome required the cooperation and compromise of everyone involved but that always alluded this process and every party shares in that failure to some degree. 

In the end, the possibility of 22 owners means that change in conditions are probably unlikely in the short term but then as these owners become more invested in their neighborhood, there will probably be new opportunities to incorporate the Lighthouse Inn into the fabric of the neighborhood.  Eventually the Trumans will become less and less a part of the motel which challenges your association to reach out to the new owners to help them become the neighbors you want them to be.

I know you feel that perhaps I have let your association down but I can assure you I have tried diligently to convince all parties that we needed a different outcome and I thought the first proposal was the best for the town and the neighborhood but we missed that opportunity.  In the end we all constrained by what the law allows us to do and the application of law has to be fair, objective and without prejudice to either party.   

 

Ron

Ron Owens

 

As you know we immediately called for a formal investigation by the Town Council.  Chairman Messer responded with a request to Ron Owens for a summary report and answers to our group’s questions concerning this latest development.  Councilor Most, Chair of the Ordinance Committee concurred, and Councilor Rancourt responded.  They wrote:

_______________________________________
Jeffrey Messer
Saturday, February 16, 2008 1:44 PM

Pine Point Residents Group,
 
I have forwarded this request on to the Town Manager with a request that the entire Town Council be copied. Quite frankly, it should have been sent to the entire Town Council all along rather than select individual members based on the voluminous nature of the email, as well as the content.

After speaking with Councilor Most to determine the best course of action, I'm formally requesting (via this email) that the Town Manager provide a report on the questions raised within your email and a summary of events concerning this issue.  I respectfully request that this report be made available to the Town Council a few days in advance of our first meeting in March (3/5/08).  Due to the holiday on Monday, as well as school vacation week making some folks unavailable to have input to the report, I believe giving staff a couple of weeks to gather information would yield a more comprehensive report.  I would also ask that the Town Manager make this report available to your group by close of business on March 3.
 
Jeff Messer
Chairman, Scarborough Town Council

 

_______________________________________
FROM: Sylvia Most
February 16, 2008 5:46 PM

Pine Point Residents Group –
Chairman Messer and I discussed your request and I fully concur with his approach outlined below. We hope that this will provide a timely response to your questions.
Sincerely,
Sylvia

_______________________________________
FROM: Carol S Rancourt
February 16, 2008 7:03 PM
Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com

I am going to ask for a public review of this issue from the Town's attorney.

Carol

 

Councilor Judy Roy also called and spent an hour on the phone to learn more. She was elected to the Council last November but had served on the Council for many years before.

The following are the exchanges between the Town and Representatives of the Residents Group:

 

The Town Manager then responded to Chairman Messer:

FROM: Ron Owens
February 19, 2008 10:27 AM
TO: Pine-point-beach@maine.rr.com
Cc: Jeffrey Messer; sylviam@maine.rr.com; Sylvia Most; Carol Rancourt; Jeff Messer; Judy Roy; Richard Sullivan; Tody Justice; Michael Wood; Ronald Ahlquist
Subject: RE: ~~ Request for Response ~~

I initially responded to your primary concern and I do intend to fully respond to your questions but last week was a very busy week.  However, before I respond I need to clearly understand what you are asking so I can respond appropriately to you and the Council.  It would be helpful if you would provide me with a concise listing of the just the questions contained in your email.  This will not only make it easier to craft an appropriate response but insure that all your questions get answered. 

Ron

Ron Owens

 

We outlined 19 specific questions in our original mail, but we replied:

FROM: Pine Point Residents Group
February 19, 2008 10:53 PM

Mr. Owens

Thank you for your mail.

We will summarize our correspondence in the form of questions as you requested.
Please address your messages to our group or all five representatives, if you would.

Jack Callahan, Harold Hutchinson, Elaine Richer, John Thurlow, Judy Shirk
Representatives

 

We did some further research and expanded on those 19 questions with the document attached to this e-mail. This was our cover message:

To:       Council Chairman Messer and Members of the Town Council

From:   Representatives of the Residents Group, Pine Point
              Harold Hutchinson, Jack Callahan, Judy Shirk, Elaine Richer, John Thurlow
Date:    February 25, 2008
Reg:      Town approval for the Lighthouse Motel to sell 22 condominium units

Thank you Chairman Messer for your response to our request for a formal investigation into what we perceive as significant irregularities in the approval process regarding the Lighthouse Motel’s conversion to 22 condominiums

Mr. Owens requested on February 19th that we provide a “…concise listing of the just the questions contained in [your] email.” Those are itemized in the attached document and include support information for his convenience.  There is a PDF version and a Word version attached. Some image may require you to enlarge the view setting.

We look forward to the report and thank you once again for being so responsive.

 

This received Chairman Messer’s reply:

From: Jeffrey Messer
February 28, 2008 11:14 AM
Pine Point Residents Group; 'Ron Owens'

Due the amount of information being requested and the limited time available to provide answers, the original time line I suggested will not be adequate for the Town Manager to prepare his response. With other higher priority concerns, such as the compilation of the budget, needing immediate attention, the date of March 30 will now be the date for public release of the report.  It's possible it may be done before then.  If it is then you can expect it to be released to you at that time.
 
Regards,
 
Jeff
 

And ours:

Pine Point Residents Group
February 29, 2008 9:35 PM
Jeffrey Messer; Ron Owens

Chairman Messer,

Thank you very much. We fully understand.

Harold Hutchinson, Jack Callahan, Judy Shirk, John Thurlow, Elaine Richer

 

So we anxiously await a reply.  We hope the Town Council will give this matter the time it deserves so the effort of so many during these past three years will not have been for nothing, and so a dangerous precedent will not be set. 

Please try to find the time to read our questions. They will give you a sense of the importance of the next step in this process.

Judy, John, Hutch, Elaine, Jack

 

Click Here for PDF file of the QUESTIONS SENT TO TOWN MANAGER

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Town Manager to Retire This Fall
ron owens
Town Manager Ron Owens


Mr. Owens acknowledges his upcoming retirement this fall in recent articles in the local paper, March 2008.


a

Resident Group Representatives Respond to Press Inquiries
A Timeline is provided for background


PRESS RELEASE: From the Pine Point Residents Group, Scarborough
DATE: March 26, 2008
REGARDING: Lighthouse Inn Condominiums

 

In response to requests by local reporters, we have summarized the timeline and issues concerning the Town’s reversal of its position on the condotel conversion of the Lighthouse Motel.  I am one of five representatives of the Residents Group. You may attribute these comments to me, the five representatives or the group.  If you have further questions, please call and I will take them down and get replies to you as soon as possible.  More detailed information and history are available at www.pinepointbeach.com.

Judy Shirk
Avenue Three, Pine Point
883-9400

Representatives
Judy Shirk
Harold Hutchinson
John Thurlow
Elaine Richer
Jack Callahan

 

 
STATEMENT

 

The Residents Group, neighborhood, and community were not informed of the abrupt change in the Town's previously strong position that conversion of the Motel was a "change of use." We have worked with the Town administration for 3 years on this issue.  The residents should have been informed or a public notice made.

We disagree with the Town Manager's new position that "nothing will change there, just the ownership, which the Town can't regulate," That was not true all last year. The Manager even filed a warning in the Registry of Deeds alerting any buyer of the condos of the Town's ordinances.  Mr. Owens stated that they have modified their declaration to his satisfaction.  Our research, however, is different, the owners did NOT strengthen their condo declarations, they weakened them.  The Town will have no enforcement ability over what happens there. A little over one paragraph was changed from the original condo documents. And these can be modified by the Condo Association without Town approval. The Council, as part of an investigation, should ensure that the changes made to these declarations are examined carefully because there is no evidence that they have been strengthened.

It is unreasonable to accept the claim that this operation will continue to be a seasonal motel as the Town Manager indicates in his responses.  Once the 22 units are sold, owners will choose to rent long term or allow friends and relatives to use the units, or leave them vacant. They will not be fully available to the traveling public as the declarations indicate and the Town Manager accepts. There is no way of determining the extent to which it remains available to the public without the Town accessing the condotel's records consistently.

The language in their condo declaration amendment indicates that owners will not be allowed to put in kitchens. Kitchens are defined in the amended declaration as a cook top and oven, nothing more.  There is no question that owners of these units will equip them with kitchens and it will be unenforceable by the Town.  Kitchens clearly create a "change of use." They create a "dwelling." And they present a life safety hazard that the structure is not at present equipped for properly. This facility is old, has no sprinkler system, no pull stations, no fire escapes, no egress windows, outdated electrical systems, asbestos sheathing, and no inter-connected smoke alarms wired to an alarm service. To permit this change of use is to ignore a significant risk to personal safety.

Most upgrades at this facility need to be done building-wide and there are many.  Individual owners will not be able to upgrade on their own nor will they be motivated to share substantial costs to upgrade common areas. Furthermore, it may take some time for all units to be sold, delaying the upgrades necessary under the Town ordinance for the protection of life.

Two other non-conforming lodging places in Pine Point went to the Zoning Board for approval to convert to condos last year.  The Lighthouse should also be required to. Ownership issues aside, common sense must prevail along with a correct interpretation of the ordinance and case law.  These dwellings will undeniably be a change of use from what the Motel has done for decades. The law requires a process of approval so some conditions can be applied and enforcement made possible.

The Town Council has been involved in this for three years, ever since the owners asked for the Town's help for first 5 condo plan.  We do not believe that this should now become an administrative decision, made without public notice or input.  The Town Manager does not have the authority, in our view, to make this decision and the Town Council should investigate the irregularities we have pointed out in our submission to them. At the very least, an objective legal opinion by another firm should be sought.

Ownership can take different forms.  If the owner's of the motel chose to take on 30 partners or create a corporation and issue shares, there would be little objection. But the change of ownership they propose is far different and it presents a host of complications for regulation.  We disagree with the Town Manager that this form of ownership has nothing to do with land use as he stated.

The bottom line is density. To permit a non-conforming motel on 1/3 acre of land to become 22 dwellings would create a housing density that is outrageous by today's standards.  When compared to single family homes nearby, this tiny parcel of land will have as many dwellings as all of King Street up to Dunefield Lane.
 
For more detailed positions, history and details, including correspondence and photos, please visit the Resident Group's website at www.pinepointbeach.com 
 

 
BACKGROUND FACTS and TIMELINE

 

• The Lighthouse Motel is a 22 room motel on 1/3 of an acre. It is a seriously non-conforming use in the residential zone. It has 18 inches frontage where it abuts the Pine Point Rd. (Also known as Depot St.) The motel has an off-site parking strip 22 feet wide. The facility falls in the Shoreland Zone which requires approvals for alterations or expansions.

• The Town public road is between the motel and its parking strip.  Barricades have been placed in the road at the intersection of King Street for over 15 years resulting in the appearance of the road as private property of the motel. Guests of the motel and the owners routinely use the public road for loading and unloading, recreation, maintenance, etc.

• Neighbors have expressed strong interest in reclaiming this stretch of the road for public use and shore access, and to design an attractive and accessible turnaround and handicap parking at the shore.

• The developer, as part of his subdivision plan known as "Beachwalk" (on the land adjacent to the motel parking) has donated land to the Town for this purpose.

• A land exchange proposal was discussed with the motel owners and Town Council in December of 2004 which contemplated moving the motel parking strip and road giving the motel frontage. This would facilitate the owners’ expansion plans.

• The owners of the motel proposed to convert to condominiums in March of 2005 and applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  The Zoning Board did not grant approval.

• Residents became alarmed when they learned about the plan and the Town’s potential willingness to assist the owners in their expansion without a tangible benefit to the Town. Given the serious non-conformity of the property, its position next to a public street, the barricades, shoreland zone and others factors, the Residents Group formed to lobby the Council for careful study before making any concessions to the owners.

• The Zoning Board rejected the owners’ plan and urged them to work with their neighbors.  Their architect held four community forums over the summer to get public input.  Ultimately, the Residents Group and many other neighbors SUPPORTED the owners’ plan for FIVE luxury condominiums at the Lighthouse Motel. It would have clearly been more conforming to the residential zone and a nice addition to the neighborhood. There were several benefits of the plan but also unresolved issues and incomplete negotiations.

• At the request of the Residents Group in August of 2005, the Town Council created a Special Committee of all parties to discuss the unresolved matters and study plans for a possible new road design.

• After eight months of meetings, the owners indicated that 5 luxury units were not sufficiently profitable so they withdrew their "Plan D" (5 condos) and stated that they wanted to add units back in the plan.  The owners’ lawyer wrote to the Town and indicated they would no longer be participating. The Town Manager disbanded the Council committee. No minutes of any meetings were recorded and no public report was made at the end of the study, although a great deal of work was done.

• In April and May of 2006 the Town modified the barricade on Depot Street by constructing a permanent, paved, larger barricade. Residents Group members strongly objected since it was their goal to have the barricades removed completely. On June 7th the Town Council approved the plan, although the new barricade was already under construction. The Residents Group representatives were not aware that it would be a Council action item, or they would have presented concerns to them directly. It was not posted on the agenda until two days before the Council meeting.

• After presenting its views to the Town Council, the Residents Group observed the Council deliberation during which Council Chair Steve Ross presented his recommendation that the barricade be removed from the public street. He explained the historical basis for his recommendation based on research he had done back to 1875 which indicated that the street extends to the Atlantic Ocean. He also stated his belief that it should not be public policy to barricade a public road

• The Council votes to remove most of the new barricade on October 4, 2006. It was removed the next day.

• The Residents Group worked with the Town for the next two years on matters concerning the road, such as the barricade mentioned above.  A developer purchased the owners’ vacant lot across the street adjacent to the motel's parking strip and proposed a nine-lot subdivision there.  The Residents Group worked with the Town and the developer and ultimately endorsed the project after the developer agreed to several concessions (such as vegetation height to preserve public vistas) and he agreed to donate a portion of land to the Town.

• The Lighthouse Motel owners began this process in March of 2005 with a plan to convert 22 motel rooms to 7 condo dwellings on their 1/3 acre. Later, as stated above, they agreed to the neighbors’ input and designed an attractive 5 dwelling plan.  Then, 2 years later they proposed to convert 22 motel rooms (which have no kitchens and have always been seasonal) to 22 condo dwellings. Their lawyer wrote to the Town in the winter of 2007 to inquire if any approvals were necessary for this "change of ownership."  The Town, after legal review, adopted the position that they would, indeed, need approvals because the plan was a “change of use." The Code Enforcement officer referred to the use at the time the property became non-conforming and, with case law provided by the Town attorney, he wrote the Town's official response.

• The Town Manager and Town attorney crafted a draft ordinance for the Council's consideration which would clarify these issues and regulate conversions of non-conforming motels. The controversy over the Lighthouse Motel, along with a growing trend elsewhere to convert motels to "condotels" was the impetus for the ordinance. A draft was on the Council agenda for March 7, 2007. Many citizens spoke in favor of the ordinance. The Town Council tabled it and referred it back to its Ordinance Committee leaving a retroactive provision that would affect the Lighthouse Motel since it was a "pending project."

• Notwithstanding the Town's response to the motel owners, they nevertheless filed condo declarations at the Registry of Deeds 12 days after the Town Council's First Reading. This effectively created the "Lighthouse Inn Condominiums."

• The Town filed its own declaration in the Registry of Deeds on April 3, 2007 alerting potential purchasers of condos there of the Town's ordinances, effectively creating a title defect should any condos be sold before approvals were granted.

• On July 26, 2007 the owners of the Lighthouse Motel erected a high stockade fence along the property line abutting the new subdivision and the parcel of land donated to the Town by the developer.  The stockade fence obliterated public views of the ocean from the public road.  The fence has been considered a spite fence by the Residents Group which asked the Town to intervene on July 27th. The Town Manager stated they were within their legal rights. The Residents Group proposed that the owners be informed that the Town would install an identical fence on the other side of the road in front of the motel if they did not remove the spite fence.  The Manager indicated that he would not because property owners "can be unreasonable but the Town can't."

• The Town Manager proposed mediation between the neighbors and the owners to attempt to reach a compromise once again.  The Residents Group agreed; the owners of the Motel refused.

• The Town Council held two additional hearings on the so called "Condotel Ordinance" in August and September, 2007.  14 citizens spoke in favor of the ordinance and a letter signed by 67 residents supporting it was published.  One citizen spoke against it, and one of the owners of the Lighthouse Motel took the podium and threatened the Town Council with a lawsuit if it were adopted. The Council tabled it once again leaving the retroactive clause in effect and referring it back to the Ordinance Committee. Town Councilors Messer and Most stated that they were confident that our existing ordinances and the Town's position on the "change of use" at the Lighthouse Inn was sufficient until the ordinance could be given further review.

• On February 5th, Resident Group member and representative met with Dave Grysk, the Code Enforcement Officer, about her property. When she asked if anything was happening with the Lighthouse Motel and the ordinance, he stated that the Lighthouse Inn has been approved to sell their 22 hotel rooms as condos. His words were “They’re all set.” Judy called Ron Owens who confirmed this information. 

• The Resident Groups Reps met and sent a letter on February 6th to the Town Council requesting an investigation into the matter. There had been no press release about this reversal of the Town's position, nothing had appeared in the papers, and there was nothing in the public record on the Town’s web site about it. The Council was reminded that the Group was anxiously awaiting the outcome of the ordinance committee's review and also reminded them that Councilors Messer and Most stated very clearly last fall that our existing ordinance was sufficient to require ZBA approval for a “change of use.”  The Town attorney’s opinion has been very clear on this subject.

• E-mail exchanges between the Residents Group and Town Council resulted in the Council Chairman requesting a report and answers to our group's questions contained in the February 6th letter.

• The Residents Group, at the request of the Town Manager, submitted a revised set of questions with background materials to facilitate the report. This went to the Council and Chairman Messer extended the deadline for the report to March 30, 2007.

• The Town Manager is interviewed in the March 26 issue of the Current and stated that the report will be presented at the April 2nd Council meeting.

a


We acknowledge the passing in November of Viola Lothrop, a member of the Residents Group,
long-time resident of Pine Point, member of the Ladies' Auxiliary, local historian, and a truly wonderful lady.
Viola was co-marshall at last year's Pine Point Parade, a tribute to her place in the community.
She will be terribly missed by all.

 

a

Judy Learns from Code Enforcement Officer David Grysk that the
Lighthouse Motel is "All Set" to Convert to 22 Condos!

Representatives of Residents Group Immediately Write
Town Council Chairman Jeff Messer and
Ordinance Chairperson Councilor Sylvia Most
Requesting A Council Investigation


These are E-mail Exchanges Between February 6 - 11, 2008

 

FEBRUARY 6, 2008

From:
Pine Point Residents Group [mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 11:00 PM
To: Messer, Jeff ; sylviam@maine.rr.com
Cc: Owens, Ron ; galwaybay1@aol.com; john@thurlow com; Shirk, Judy ; Elaine Richer
Subject: Please Assist Us - Pine Point Issues

Hi Jeff and Sylvia:

We hope you’re both well and had a fine holiday season.

We are writing because we are alarmed by some news we received and need your help, please.

Judy Shirk happened to speak with Dave Grysk yesterday and he informed her that the Lighthouse Inn has been approved to sell their 22 hotel rooms as condos. His words were “They’re all set.” Judy called Ron Owens who confirmed this information.  You can understand how alarmed we are, but we have not informed the neighborhood yet until we learn more. We assume there has been no press release about this because nothing has appeared in the papers, and there is nothing in the public record on the Town’s web site about it (although the online agendas and minutes are still outdated).

We hope you agree that this is truly unbelievable given the Council’s referral of the so-called “condotels ordinance” draft back to its Ordinance Committee. You both stated very clearly last fall that our existing ordinance was sufficient to require ZBA approval for a “change of use.”  The Town attorney’s opinion has been very clear on this subject (see attached).  Two condo conversions of motels at Pine Point went through the ZBA last summer and fall (they were required to) at considerable expense to the owners - and there were fewer issues with those properties relative to their historical use than with the Lighthouse Inn. As you know, Pine Point residents offered compelling testimony to the Council and provided data and charts when we addressed you in the fall, and while we had hoped for an affirmative vote on the ordinance, we were nevertheless pleased that the Council kept the matter active by tabling it and referring it to the Ordinance Committee for further study.  The community was reassured by your words concerning the existing ordinance and even more reassured when Sylvia and Shawn Babine reacted to Mr. Truman’s threat from the podium of legal action by stating they were not moved by such threats.

The position we presented to you was that each non-conforming motel is unique and should go through a public process for approval to convert. That would give the Town the ability to place reasonable conditions on projects. We were focused on the Lighthouse Inn because rather than covert to five units, a plan which the neighborhood supported, they chose to attempt to convert to 22 units - on  one-third acre of land. And they intended to do this with no upgrades (as required by our ordinance) such as a sprinkler system, ADA requirements or asbestos abatement, and without resolving their road frontage problem (this facility has 18 inches of frontage from the public road) by negotiating a reasonable land exchange with the Town.  

Would you please investigate this as soon as possible?  We assume you and Sylvia have no knowledge of this and will want to intervene immediately. After learning this news, we searched the Registry of Deeds and the Trumans have, indeed, modified their condo declarations with language which appears to exploit a loophole in the ordinance using language defining motels that was enacted when the Residence Inn sought approval. That section of the ordinance was not applicable to existing non-conforming motels and hotels, as you know. 

You are aware of the strong feelings of many of the people at Pine Point about this issue and you can just imagine the reaction if it turns out to be a done deal. We wonder what the investor-owners of the Beachwalk lots will think as they try to sell their investment in this market with a condotel across the street.  We wonder how the Sun & Sand and Dunes Inn owners, who were required to go through the ZBA for fewer units on larger parcels will think.

We’re hopeful that Dave has not approved any “change of use” down there without Zoning Board approval and that he will not, under any circumstances, issue occupancy permits.

Jeff, you mentioned in an earlier email that you were going to discuss a contract zone idea there so we might finally get the land and road issues finalized and begin planning for a possible Gateway project there. We wondered if anything has happened.

On another related matter, there is a very large home being constructed at the Beachwalk across from the Lighthouse..  Very large.  We believe that it may be in violation of the Planning Board approval.  We also reviewed the Town tax assessments of those 9 parcels at the Beachwalk and there are some major discrepancies.  We’ve attached examples from the Assessor’s database for you to see, as well as the email exchange with Mr. Lesperance (below).  This is another new issue that will upset people because of the history there.  Paul Lesperance indicated that Code Enforcement considers these lots unbuildable, but if you take a ride down you will see the enormous house under construction and infrastructure fully in place.  Please let us know if they are buildable and if the assessments are going to be corrected.  If not, there will be a considerable loss of tax revenue to the Town and substantial inequity with similar properties along the shore.  Those whose shorefront properties are assessed at almost twice as high will understandably be concerned when they learn about this.

We have worked very hard for 3 years to participate in the public process and communicate openly and positively with the Town.  It is very hard to accept that agreements have been made and the neighborhood has not been kept informed of developments.  The last communication we had was about participating in mediation so we could move forward (see below), which we agreed to do.

Thank you both for any help you can provide.  Time is of the essence because as soon as one unit is sold (none have been as of today), this issue will become much more complicated.

For the Pine Point Residents Group
Judy, Jack, Hutch, Elaine and John

(Four attachments: please let us know if you did not receive them).

 

 

FEBRUARY 7, 2008

From: Ron Owens
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 10:56 AM

The Trumans are revising their declarations to be clear that the motel will continue to operate as seasonal motel and that there will be no change of use, which is the only issue on which the town could regulate.  The Town cannot regulate the form of ownership but we had argued that would they proposed and filed in the condo declarations was essentially a change of use in that it was unclear that motel would continue to operate as a motel. 

They have revised their documents to assure the Town that the motel will continue to operate as a seasonal motel with a central management as it has in the past; however, the rooms can be owned by individuals.  Dave Grysk inspected each room to insure that there were no changes in layout and furnishings to suggest that the rooms were anything more than a typical motel room and to establish a base snapshot of the property should utilization of the motel units become an issue in the future. 

No action was required of the Council since the Trumans revised their documents to satisfy all of the requirements that the Town Attorney had set out at the beginning of this process to avoid being considered a change of use.   Documents are in the process of being filed by the Truman’s attorney and the Town Attorney clearly setting forth the nature and use of this property.   The Trumans apparently decided they did not want to proceed to court to challenge the Town’s position and instead decided to accede to the Code Officer and Town Attorney’s requirements to avoid being characterized as a change of use.    The other properties that went through the ZBA process were changing use or at least being legally recognized as year round living units with full kitchens.  That is not the case of the Lighthouse Motel.   I was planning to forward you copy of those documents when they are finalized which I also informed Judy yesterday.

Your note on tax assessments overlooks the fact that the assessments are based on conditions in effect on April 1, 2007 and at that time the lots were unbuildable.  What you are seeing now and the fact that the lots are now buildable will be reflected in the assessments as of April 1, 2008.  I know it can be confusing but all properties are assessed on April 1 of each year and tax payments due in Oct and March are based on the previous April’s values.

Ron
________________________________________________


(Residents Group Reps Note: The April 1, 2007 date does not reflect the fact that the lots should have been buildable if the Planning Board's approvals had been adhered to. The delay caused by Mr. Hollis's default, and the Town's violation of its own ordinance regarding the required Performance Guarantee created this situation. Since Hollis failed to pay the performance guarantee as required by Ordinance and by the Planning Board's approval, and because the Town held Hollis's business check for a portion of the guarantee for months (the check later bounced) this project should have been nullified. But the Town granted the owners of the lots, investors who neglected to perform their own due diligence regarding a clear title, major concessions because if its failure to enforce its own rules. There have been several violations of the Planning Board's approvals and disregard for representations made by the Developer. More information will be forthcoming.

 ____________________________________________________

FEBRUARY 7, 2008

From:
Jeffrey Messer
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 11:55 AM
 
I did discuss the contract zone idea with the Truman's last September.  Obviously, they decided not to go in that direction.  The town's position all along was that the property was a change of use by converting a hotel to condo units for year round use.  We had the ordinance tabled to maintain leverage against this occurring, as well as the possibility of subsequent court action should they have proceeded.  As Ron's e-mail indicates, and with confirmation from the Town Attorney, their conversion is not a change of use if it is still for seasonal use (less than 180 days).  I'm surprised they agreed to this position, but my understanding is that is legal and the town would have little, if any, chance in a lawsuit of defending the change os use position (which was a strong position should they have tried to proceed for year round use).  I realize this likely wasn't what the group had in mind as a final result, but the Truman's hold the cards on this scaled down version in my opinion.  Hope all is well.
 
Regards,
 
Jeff

 ____________________________________________________

FEBRUARY 7, 2008

From:
Sylvia Most
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 4:09 PM

HI Judy, Jack, Hutch, Elaine and John,


By now you have received Manager Owens response to your message. I do not have any additional information to add.
At this time, it appears that the Lighthouse Motel will remain in its current form and function.
Sincerely,
Sylvia

____________________________________________________

 

FEBRUARY 11, 2008

From: Pine Point Residents Group
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2008 12:25 PM

Dear Mr. Owens, Councilors Messer and Most:

Thank you for the email messages you each sent on the 7th of February concerning the Lighthouse Motel.  With apologies for the length of this communication, we hope you will take the time to read it and respond. We have many things to say because we have worked very hard on this issue for a very long time and there is much at stake.

To be candid, and in all due respect, over 85 neighbors have been involved in this issue for three years, as of this month. We would have preferred to be informed of this disturbing development before it was finalized.  We are sure you agree, Town government needs to be transparent, and we’re sure you recognize that our neighborhood group members have been as active as any other group in Town who seek to be involved in public matters. 

We closely examine every agenda and read the minutes of the Council, Planning Board and Zoning Board and cannot find any record of negotiations or agreements with the owners of the Lighthouse Motel.  We understand it is our responsibility as citizens to involve ourselves and we have no expectation that the Town is required to keep its citizens informed.  But as you know, we participated in a Town Council study committee on this matter for 8 months beginning in September of 2005. Since then, we’ve worked very closely with the Town Manager regarding Depot Street and the Truman’s condominium proposals. We have reams of communications, over 40 newspaper articles have been written about the issues, and we have addressed the Planning Board, Town Council and Zoning Board of Appeals on several occasions.  We also had promises from each of you to let us know if there were any developments, and we have “checked in.” frequently. The only reason we knew about this was because one neighbor happened to ask Dave Grysk about it when she was in to see him about her own property.  We were shocked to learn what has occurred in the past few weeks.

We are, once again, in the position of having to react to significant decisions affecting the neighborhood, decisions for which the public has not had an opportunity to lobby its elected officials on this new plan; changes in the Condo Declarations.  And we suspect that our elected officials were as uninformed as we were about this latest development.

While the Council is not expected to micro-manage Town government, it was brought into the Depot Street “Barricade” issue by the Town Manager himself and the Council voted to accept his recommendation to make the barricade across Depot Street longer and permanent rather than seasonal.  This was exactly opposite what the neighborhood group had petitioned for. The Council voted on the Manager’s recommendations after debating it matter for all of 11 minutes, and the neighbors who had worked with the Town Manager on this long-standing controversial issue had no idea it was even on the Council’s agenda that night. In fact, the new barricade was already constructed before you were asked to vote on it!   Neighbors obviously reacted strongly, and when the Council graciously allowed us to present our views through representatives (rather than filling the Council chambers with angry residents), you listened to our arguments and ordered the new barricade reduced in size considerably. 

We use this simply as another example of both the importance of good communications with citizens and the Council’s involvement in what otherwise would be a small public works project. The Council recognized that it was more than that, it was important to the neighborhood and community that the public way to the shore be reclaimed for the citizens from its de facto private use by the motel for the past two decades.

Citizens can live with decisions made by their elected representatives provided they have the opportunity to influence those decisions.  You listened to our testimony last fall when in favor of regulating condotels, and you tabled the so-called “Condotel” Ordinance rather than defeating it. You assured us that the existing ordinance would prevent this 22 room motel (which sits on 1/3 of an acre) from converting to condominium ownership without Zoning Board review.  So we have patiently waited for the Ordinance Committee process to continue and have checked in frequently and looked online for an agenda. Now we learn, by happenstance, of this development. And it appears to be finalized. A done deal, as it were. 

The reason we formally asked the Town Council to investigate this when we learned of it is because there are so many irregularities which we’ve discovered in the 48 hours since we learned the disturbing news.  This is, in our view, a matter for the Council to attend to.  You hire a manager to carry out policies and an attorney to advise you, of course.  But when issues are controversial (Black Point Park, Solar Panels, Depot Street Barrier, and many more), you do become involved because citizens should have an opportunity to be heard.  That is one of our Town’s solid values.  We suspect that no member of the Council has read the documents pertaining to this. We have.  And you should too as part of a formal investigation. 

Town Managers and Attorneys make mistakes. The mistakes here include: stakeholders were not informed prior to agreements being made, the Council did not act on what is obviously a politically-charged topic, and a decision which will have enormous impact on our neighborhood was made erroneously. This has never been a straightforward issue; it has been a complex one without precedent in this Town and it deserves more than a few lines in a Condo Declaration to be resolved.

With respect to the irregularities mentioned above, we cite Councilor Messer’s reply to our request for an investigation. He wrote:

“The town's position all along was that the property was a change of use by converting a hotel to condo units for year round use.“   (see below for the full text of the message).

He went on to write:

“As Ron's e-mail indicates, and with confirmation from the Town Attorney, their conversion is not a change of use if it is still for seasonal use (less than 180 days).”  

In all due respect, the documents prove otherwise and this is simply not true.  You may be surprised to learn that the original Condominium Declarations, which the owners filed to create their condotel on March 19th of 2007, already had specific language restricting the units’ occupancy to the “six month rule.” Those original declarations also had language requiring that the facility be closed off-season and that a management system would be in place.  In fact, if the Council were to investigate, as we formally request again, it would only have to simply  compare the original Declarations from March 2007 with the Amended Declaration they filed just 15 days ago, (apparently with the Town Attorney’s blessing).  The language in the Amendment concerning Occupancy and Use is virtually identical to the Original. Nothing has changed except for the addition of two months for closure and a paragraph that has very weak language (i.e. “any unit owner wishing to rent out his or her unit as a transient lodging on a nightly or weekly basis…”).  The clause about kitchens in this paragraph is illogical and open to interpretation, and who would want to buy a condo and have no kitchen? There will be kitchens, just “creative” ones. The fact that potential owners of this unit have no obligation to make them available to the traveling public, and the inevitable addition of kitchens in some form certainly mean a CHANGE OF USE.

Mr. Owens wrote, “…Documents are in the process of being filed by the Truman’s attorney and the Town Attorney clearly setting forth the nature and use of this property.”  Are there other documents out there? Why were they not recorded when the owners recorded their amendment 15 days ago?

Councilor Messer, the owners have always proposed seasonal use, not year-round use, as you wrote, but the Town still adopted a “Change of Use” position which would simply require Zoning Board approval. That is one role of the Zoning Board, and that is the process through which the public has a voice when non-conforming uses change to other non-conforming uses.  We know the owners do not want to go through that process because it is very challenging and they experienced an unfavorable review three years ago.  They know they are essentially creating 22 dwellings on one-third acre with off-site parking, and that would not go over well with the Zoning Board.  Please remember, they agreed to a plan, affectionately known as “Plan D” which the neighborhood supported – and that was for FIVE condos.  Even that density was controversial, but it represented a compromise.

We are not attorneys and neither are members of the Town Council, and you have to rely on counsel and advice from those you hire and retain.  But that does not mean you cede decision making on a very political and controversial public issue to your attorney or Town Manager simply because they did not ask you to deliberate the issue in public. You discuss legal matters routinely and examine technical language.  The Council should have, at the very least, been given a straightforward explanation - in open session - of what was done that resulted in a change in the Town’s formerly solid position on this matter. Then the Council could have heard from the public and provided direction to the Town Manager. The Council is not to blame.  You must rely on issues being brought before you, and there is no question, in our view, that this latest decision was not an administrative one. The history is just too long, too controversial and has involved many, many citizens from the neighborhood to let it disappear under the guise of technical legalities.  At the very least, you ought to get a second opinion.

You will remember that Mr. Truman threatened you with legal action from your podium last fall.  We admired the courage of Councilors Most and Babine who responded to his vitriol by stating they were not moved by such threats.  We hope that their admirable positions are embraced by everyone on the Council and that the Town did not enter into this new agreement to avoid litigation.   

The Town Council has undoubtedly never read the Statement of the Town of Scarborough which Mr. Grysk filed at the Registry of Deeds when it was learned that the owners of the Lighthouse Motel ignored the Town’s position in March of 2007 and filed their Condo Declarations. They did this despite the Town’s response to their lawyer’s inquiry about whether they needed approvals. Incidentally, they filed these documents at the Registry 11 days before your first reading on the new “condotels” ordinance draft in April of 2007.  Perhaps their thinking was that they would be grandfathered, but as you know State Law permits you to essentially enact ordinances that also apply to “pending projects” so just such strategies won’t work.  If you were to read what the Town recorded at the Registry on April 3, 2007 in response to their filing, you would see the following warning :

 

NOTICE REGARDING THE LIGHTHOUSE INN CONDOMINIUM

“To prospective purchasers of units in the above-referenced condominium: You are hereby notified of the requirements of Section IV(G)(1)(b) of the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Scarborough, Maine, which reads as follows:

Prior to any change in the ownership or tenancy of a building or structure other than a single-family, two family or multifamily dwelling (emphasis added), the owner of the building or structure (or the prospective new owner or tenant with the written authorization of the owner) shall obtain a new certificate of occupancy.  The new owner or tenant shall not occupy the building or structure until it is brought into compliance with the requirements of this ordinance and any other applicable law, ordinance, rule or regulation for the use proposed by the prospective new owner or tenant.

 

This document will obviously remain at the Registry of Deeds and become part of title searches, and thankfully the Town has not yet filed any other documents related to the “Lighthouse Inn Condominium” (other than the perpetual tax liens the Town places on the motel for its failure to pay property taxes on time.) The language in the ordinance is crystal clear.  The Lighthouse Motel is not a single family, two family, or multifamily dwelling.  Therefore a new owner is required to obtain a new certificate of occupancy.  The language above requiring new owners to bring their building or structure into compliance with codes is fundamental to the protection of the new occupants.  This begs the question of how 22 future owners, who are yet unknown, will be able to collectively upgrade a facility with 22 living units which:  has no sprinkler system, no legal kitchens, structural deficiencies that were exposed two years ago by the owners’ architect, asbestos shingles along the entire back of the building, several ADA deficiencies, single station smoke detectors which are not interconnected to all of the other units, no fire escapes, and no fire alarm pull stations.  It's unimaginable that this change of ownership would not require such basic upgrades as clearly outlined in the ordinance.  Fire codes are not grandfathered, ever, and the Town's obligation to protect the public is a fundamental foundation of its ordinances. Life safety is the first priority.

We hear the argument; but these are not dwellings.  Therein lies the illogic – of course they are dwellings, perhaps not be legal definition but that is interpretation. As part of your investigation, Mr. Grysk will testify about the history of the language in the Ordinance; he will enlighten you that amendments were made when the Marriot Residence Inn sought to come to Scarborough. The definitions in the ordinance were never intended to apply to a seriously non-conforming hotel. The owners’ attorney was apparently able to craft a paragraph of language in the Declaration amendment to satisfy Mr. Vaniotis, but you must investigate this, not matter how much faith you have in your attorney, who we know is very well-respected.

Let's explore some scenarios that will likely occur if this is permitted without regulation or oversight. 

Five families decide to chip in and buy one unit at the Lighthouse Condominium (that is their officially registered name, by the way).  The families have an agreement between them to occupy the unit for two weeks each summer on a rotating basis.  The result is a unit which is not available to the public as a motel room for ten weeks during the summer. 

A senior couple from Vermont decides to invest in a unit and spend a month in Maine enjoying Pine Point beach.  They rent the unit to a young couple they know for the balance of the six-month period.  That unit is no longer available to the general public.

A corporation purchases a unit and uses it to entertain clients, or allows employees to use it as a benefit of employment.  That unit is unlikely to be available to the general public. 

Imagine the possibilities.  It is within the realm of possibility that this “motel” will never operate as a motel and we are not convinced the Town has the ability to do anything about it.  The end result, of course, is that it has CHANGED ITS USE.  Now if it is argued that is hasn’t because of existing ordinance, then the question is why not complete the work on the condotels ordinance that so much time was invested it?

Furthermore, because the Lighthouse Motel is now technically condominiums, there is no requirement we can find which compels them to maintain an innkeeper's license and be subjected to the annual inspections which are conducted to protect the occupants. Obviously this oversight needs to be addressed?  Today, what are they; motel or condo?  Licensed or not?  Innkeepers have many burdens when it comes to inspections and upgrades, and that is to protect the public.

We have many questions and would appreciate responses we can send to the neighbors on our large mailing list.  As you know, many neighbors in Pine Point are away this time of the year and they depend on our communications to help them stay informed. 

 

QUESTIONS

 

1.       Have the new members of the Town Council been fully briefed on the 3 year history of this issue?
2.       If the ordinance as it was crafted the last time the Council deliberated on it had been enacted, would the Town still permit this current arrangement?
3.       Was there any discussion about a land exchange? If not, do you anticipate that the parking lot across the public road will forever remain where it is? If so, how does the Town feel about that since it negotiated for a donation of land to the Town abutting the parking strip in anticipation of a land exchange?  Is that precious parcel now virtually unusable?
4.       Was there any discussion about the new fence? Did the Town attempt to use its leverage to have that removed?
5.       Did the Town use its leverage to negotiate with the owners to resolve the long-standing issue regarding their private use of Depot Street?
6.       Is the Town attorney aware - and is the Town Council aware - that this may eliminate forever the possibility of a proportional exchange of land leaving the only option that of a 1:1 ratio (in other words, simply moving the parking area to front of the motel)?  22 units require 22 spaces (although the Zoning Board required 1.5 spaces for the other conversions they approved last summer), and the ordinance requires 2 for conforming properties.  
7.       Is the action the owners are taking to meet the Town’s requirements by modifying the declarations permanent? If they are able to amend their original declarations unilaterally as they did January 28th, what would prohibit the owners from doing so in the future? And if they did, what enforcement powers would the Town have?
8.       If Owner A installs a full kitchen without a permit how will Code Enforcement know and what action would they take if they learned of it from another unit owner, for example?
9.       What procedures are in place, or will be in place, by the Town to monitor this operation after one or more units are sold? 
10.   Will the Innkeepers ordinance apply to this?
11.   Will there be annual inspections as there are for motels and how would individual owners react to that? Don’t they have rights as “homeowners”? 
12.   If there are violations, for example, who will be assessed fines – the owner (or multiple owners in the “Timeshare” scenario), the Association, the management firm?
13.   Who on the town payroll will be auditing the guest register and monitoring compliance with the restrictions in the Declarations to insure that it is operating as a motel?
14.   How will a central management operation be able to monitor how owners are using their units?  For example, if an owner chooses to rent her unit herself, or make a deal with a relative or friend, how can the management possibly monitor that?
15.   Have we set a precedent for other non-conforming motels to use the same loopholes?
16.   Have we contacted the State to examine whether any statutes exist which supersede our ordinances, particularly those relating to life safety?
17.   The Town manager stated that the Town cannot “regulate ownership,” but acknowledged that the Town specified certain requirements of its attorney.  What are those requirements because they cannot be found in the Amended Declaration by the Lighthouse Motel.
18.   How will the Town know if the Declarations are changed in the future?
19.   Where did the so-called “six month clause” come from?  This motel has never been opened for six months.  Who defines “seasonal” as six months?  It can be argued that “seasonal” is the summer period of June 21st to September 22nd (3 months).  Even affording an extra month for leaf peeping, that is only four months. Again, by expanding the occupancy periods beyond what it always has been, this non-conforming enterprise is, indeed, changing its use.

The motel owners, many, many citizens, and Town officials have spent three years seeing this situation evolve.  Suddenly and without notice decisions have been made which we fear will be irreversible once units are sold, although we hope not. We urge the Council to direct the Manager, in public session, to inform the motel owners that they are not advised to sell units and that this process is not finished until it is thoroughly investigated by the Council. If the Manager entered into agreements without the Council’s approval, then the Council should take action to rescind any agreement made no matter what threat of legal action is offered - as it was last fall.  If the Council did approve this, the public needs to know how it granted approval because there is no public record we can find, no action item or public notice.

An investigation does not imply that the Council itself needs to conduct a detailed inquiry.  Retaining an impartial team of professionals to examine all of the facts and all of the history is an option.  But whatever form the investigation takes, citizens should be able to testify.

We can all think that this is still a seasonal motel and that simply selling the units does not change its use or the nature of its operation, but that does not pass the straight face test.  This will no longer be a motel.  Even when lay persons read their Declarations and Amendment we can see how weak and unenforceable they will be by the Town. And the opportunity the Town has to reclaim the public way for the benefit of the public will be lost and the Hollis land donation will be useless to the citizens.

Finally, the owners erected a spite fence last summer.  When the neighborhood objected strongly to the loss of public views of the sea, the Town said nothing could be done.  We disagree.  if that fence is not removed by June 1st, we recommend that the Town inform the owners that it will have no choice but to erect an identical fence on the motel side of the street along the new pedestrian walkway the Town painted. After all, motel guests walk right out into a public street, guests cars backing out of parking pose a hazard to pedestrian, beach goers ignore the striped walkway, children of motel guests play games in the street routinely, motel guests use the public street to back up to their rooms to unload their vehicles; so it is perfectly logical that either the hotel owners fence that property line as well, or the Town should - for the protection of the public and the motel guests. Let’s see how that goes over. No Town Councilor lives in Pine Point, but we’re sure you love the area as much as we do.  One of the most beautiful vistas in Pine Point from King and Depot Streets was obliterated by that fence and the Town can use its strength and authority to have it removed. Sure, there will likely be another threat of legal action from the owners, but as Councilor Most stated so well the last time the Council was threatened, she is not impressed or intimidated by threats. 

If the Town will finally deal with these owners assertively with the best interests of the community in mind, they will have no choice but to cooperate.  They have done nothing to cooperate to this point in three years, while the neighbors have been very cooperative.  We are well aware of some feelings that our group is “out to get the Trumans” and that has been their strategy to discredit a large group of neighbors. It has worked to some extent.  But for those who have been duped into believing this is personal, we can do nothing buy say it is simply not true and it is offensive to be told that. Some still will believe it. 

Shawn Babine, just before he left the Council, stated during Council deliberation on the condotel ordinance that “the neighborhood opposed the five condos down there” and he “didn’t understand why.”  A loud gasp filled the chambers packed with people from Pine Point because the neighborhood DID support the five condo plan and still does.  It supports a land exchange in concept. But you see how even an elected official of his fine reputation was misinformed of the facts.  So please put aside any bias you may have in this regard.  This is not and never has been about the Trumans.  As we’ve said before, we would be making the same arguments if Jill and Joe Blow owned the place.

 

Editorial Note: Councilor Babine clarified his position to us and we apologize for any misstatement. We will print is response when we receive permission from him.

This is undoubtedly one of the most non-conforming properties in this Town at one of the most visible and beautiful places in this Town.  Our Town’s goal is to promote more zoning conformity over time, not less.  Having a seasonal motel which might, in a good season, be fully occupied for 8 weeks each year CHANGE to 22 condo units (no matter what they are called), certainly does not meet that goal. By today’s standards, their one-third acre parcel would not support a single family lot, let alone 22 individually owned living units disguised as motel rooms. And let’s not forget, the owners have used their separate motel office as a living unit ever since they received approval to build it by the Planning Board, (that approval specifically stated it was not to be used as living quarters).  There is ample evidence that it has been used as a dwelling including the owner’s own admission at one of the public forums, and his realtor’s web site which boasted of “owner’s quarters” in the sale listing three years ago. So think of that as the 23rd living unit because Code Enforcement has not enforced the Planning Board’s restriction ever despite formal complaints made by residents.

Believe it or not, there’s much more to say, but that may be for another time.  If you got this far, we hope you are persuaded to act. You veteran councilors are known for digging into issues and doing a great deal of homework, whether it is the high school addition, the football fund scandal, the budget or any other important issue.  Please do your homework on this issue too. It’s important to a lot of your constituents, and it deserves the same attention other issues get.  You may disagree with our positions and we will accept that, but all we ask is to investigate it, discuss it in public, invite public comment, and make a decision yourselves; do not treat this as an administrative matter and a done deal after all we’ve been through.

We thank you for taking the time to read this and anxiously await a response.

For the Residents Group
Judy, John, Jack, Hutch, Elaine

PS: With the Manager’s advice, we wrote to the motel owners and asked if they wanted to receive our communications and work with Jack Callahan as a liaison from our group.  They did not reply.  We have no objection to having this forwarded to any interested party, including the owners, the press or others.

Citations

Original Condominium Declarations filed at the Registry on March 19, 2007 (11 days prior to the Council’s first reading of the so-called Condotel ordinance.   Book/Volume/Page:  S/24934/47

Town’s response to the Declarations: Recorded April 3, 2007 in Book/Volume/Page:  S/24975/268

Amended Declaration Registered January 24, 2008 (15 days ago)
   Book/Volume/Page:  S/25767/193

All available online at www.mainelandrecords.com

 

 ____________________________________________________

FEBRUARY 11, 2008

From: Ron Owens
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2008 3:54 PM

Despite all the rhetoric, the Lighthouse will continue to operate as a motel subject to the town’s ordinances and permits on a seasonal basis, the only difference is that the individual rooms can be individually owned motel rooms.   The use remains the same and still subject to the same restrictions as a non-conforming building.  The Trumans had a series of options they could have chosen but what they choose was to structure their venture so that the town would not have a viable legal argument to classify their plan as a change of use.  It is not perfect and it is not what we would have preferred but legally, when they changed their declarations, the town lost its option to prevent the change in ownership.  It is not the outcome we had hoped to achieve. 

As you know we have spent many hours on this issue to first replace the building with a very attractive structure and relocate the roadway to provide better access to the beach and when that option was withdrawn by the owners, we attempted to find ways to encourage them to address the issues of beach access along the lines of what you and your members wanted but then again it was dependent on the exercise of a controversial legal strategy that change of ownership and unlimited use of the units equaled a change in use under the zoning ordinance.  When the owner decided to revise their declarations to restrict the use to a seasonal motel, we arrived at the end of our ability to change or affect the situation.   It is easy to try to assess blame for the final outcome but a different outcome required the cooperation and compromise of everyone involved but that always alluded this process and every party shares in that failure to some degree. 

In the end, the possibility of 22 owners means that change in conditions are probably unlikely in the short term but then as these owners become more invested in their neighborhood, there will probably be new opportunities to incorporate the Lighthouse Inn into the fabric of the neighborhood.  Eventually the Trumans will become less and less a part of the motel which challenges your association to reach out to the new owners to help them become the neighbors you want them to be.

I know you feel that perhaps I have let your association down but I can assure you I have tried diligently to convince all parties that we needed a different outcome and I thought the first proposal was the best for the town and the neighborhood but we missed that opportunity.  In the end we all constrained by what the law allows us to do and the application of law has to be fair, objective and without prejudice to either party.   

Ron

 


September 2007

Council Tables Adoption of Ordinance Amendment to Regulate Motels - Condos

The Council's Ordinance Committee with Review the Language

 

To members of the Pine Point Residents Group and others on the Pine Point Mailing List:  

The Town Council voted to table action on the Motel Condo Ordinance amendment at Wednesday night's meeting (9/5/07).  Seven citizens spoke, six urging passage or encouraging tabling the issue until concerns over language can be addressed, and one (Nick Truman) opposed it. 

Some members of the Council were concerned about various aspects of the ordinance. The requirement of Planning Board review was one issue which some felt must be resolved because other ordinances that would guide the Planning Board's review would need to be developed. The Council apparently recognized the importance of not defeating the measure because of the importance of the retroactivity clause, particularly because of the Lighthouse Inn's decision to convert without Zoning Board approval. Statements by Councilors also reassured the public that the decisions by the Code Enforcement Officer regarding these conversions is supported by the Council, and the Town would “vigorously defend” those decisions.

While some Council members feel that the existing ordinance is sufficient, they referred it back to their Ordinance Committee (Rancourt, Most, Messer) for work and it is likely to return to the Council for additional public hearings. For the Residents Group this is very good news. Not only is it likely that there will be an ordinance amendment in the near future, but until then the Town will be steadfast in requiring owners of these properties to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals, just as others have. Whether the owners of the Lighthouse will do so remains to be seen, but the Town has filed a notice in the Registry that alerts potential purchasers of units there of the Town's ordinances.  You can view that document on the web site.

Congratulations to all who participated in the public debate and thanks to the neighbors who were willing to do what is not always easy – take the podium.  Several people also wrote letters and made calls to Council members. We have no doubt that those efforts helped the Council decide to keep this issue alive despite their concerns.  We encourage you to watch the meeting when it is rebroadcast on Channel 3 during the next three weeks.

We are awaiting Mr. Wiggins' report from his meeting with the Homeowners Association members at the Beachwalk to see where we stand there.   

Thank you. Hutch, Judy, Jack, John, Elaine          

Read the Article in the Scarborough Leader (image)

 

Citizens Sign a Letter Supporting the Ordinance Amendment to Regulate Motels - Condos

Will Appear in Local Weekly Papers

 

August 30, 2007


Dear Editor:

We are writing to commend the Town Council for their consideration of an ordinance amendment to manage the conversion of motels to condominiums. These places of lodging, many along the shore, are "grandfathered" because they are businesses generally located in residential zones which operated prior to zoning.  It is a reality of the times these older lodging places may no longer be financially viable for their owners because large hotel chains are moving here.  Nevertheless, their land is valuable even if their businesses are not as marketable.  What are their options?  Converting to condominiums is one.

Condominiums are dwellings, not motel rooms. There is no question that dwellings conform better to residential neighborhoods than do motels.  However, the Town must be cautious; we know from our coastal neighbors these “condotels” have brought enormous problems when not appropriately managed by municipalities. The Scarborough Town Manager and Town Attorney crafted this ordinance to make sure these conversions will be managed properly and neighbors have a voice in the process.  

The ordinance may appear confusing and technical, but it simply requires non-conforming motels to go before the Zoning Board for approval because condos are a "change of use."  It also requires the Planning Board to review the proposed site plan for the new "dwellings."  Finally, motel owners who want to continue to run their motels but sell individual units may do so, but they must meet reasonable requirements. These important requirements ensure owners choose to either convert to condos or remain as motels as they have always operated. If motels were allowed to sell off their rooms as dwellings without review, we would have classic  "condotels" in Scarborough with no central management, controls or oversight by the Town.

This is fair ordinance amendment. Many of our citizens have had to appear before the Zoning Board for permission to add a shed or a garage or bathroom. Many of these "appeals" are approved, some are approved with conditions, and some are denied.  Each homeowner's situation is different.  And so it is with these businesses. As a community we must make sure that a fair and open process is in place which protects the property rights of the owners while also protecting the neighborhoods conversions might impact.

We must keep in mind these motels will essentially become multiplexes if they convert.  Multiplexes have strict standards today, not the least of which is that they must have a minimum of 5 acres of land for 8 dwelling units in a residential area. There are very good reasons for this.  It is likely many motels would be allowed to convert if their proposals were reasonable and did not have a negative impact on the neighborhood.  Indeed, the Sun & Sand Motel in Pine Point just received approval.  But motel owners should consider how many condo units they propose. They may have 10 motel rooms, for example, but given their situation may only be able to support 4 or 5 condominiums.

Owners of the Lighthouse Motel at Pine Point proposed to convert their 22 room motel to five (5) condos in 2005. They applied to the Zoning Board, and neighbors were invited to give input and ultimately supported this plan. It was very reasonable.  The owners subsequently withdrew the proposal and now want to convert the same building to 22 condos. That would be 22 single family dwellings on one-third acre of land.  This example is why we need an ordinance amendment. In fact, it is this very project that brought the issue to the Town's attention. The owners asked the Town last winter if they needed approval to convert and were told Zoning Board approval was required. They disagreed, did not apply to the Zoning Board, but filed their condo declarations and bylaws at the Registry of Deeds regardless of the Town's position. No units have been sold because the Town intervened. 

One of the most important items in the ordinance amendment is the retroactive provision. If adopted, the Lighthouse Inn will be required to do what it and others have previously done -  go before the Zoning Board for a fair and public process.  If this amendment is not enacted, others may take this same inappropriate path to conversion.

This ordinance amendment will provide the Town and its citizens necessary legal strength to guarantee each proposal is treated fairly and equally. We respectfully ask the members of the Town Council to adopt this ordinance amendment on September 5th or table it and refer it back to your Ordinance Committee for further study and revision.  Councilor Sylvia Most allowed generous public comment when this was first presented to the Ordinance Committee last March, and if necessary we encourage that process again. The amendment is a critical issue for the entire Scarborough community.

Thank you.

Doris Norton
Dorothy Demaio
Dick Mushial
Bill Shirk
Mike Siminski
Jack Callahan
Joe Lothrop
Margaret Small
Sally Howes
Harold Hutchinson
Judy Shirk
Linda Welch
Charlotte Guest
Judy Mushial
Viola Lothrop
Cindy Wood
Brian Rule
John Thurlow
Janet Callahan
Sue Perrino
Arlene Hurd
Patricia DeGrinney
Pauline Levin
Susan Thurlow
Dianne McLellan
Steve McCall
Bruce McLellan
Elaine Richer
Joseph T. DeGrinney, MD
Gloria Carson
Pam Dalphonse
Karen Lothrop
Lynn Kirby
Bruce Peterson
Helen Hurd
Christine Provencher
Paul Kirby
Katrina McCall
Brian McLellan
Cathy McLellan
Rosanne Botto
Helen Netos
Courtney Sargent
Tookie Clifford

 

Residents Group Responds to Town's Request for "Mediation"

 

From: Pine Point Residents Group [mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 8:16 AM
To: 'lighthouseinn@adelphia.net'
Cc: 'Jeffrey Messer'; 'Ron Owens'; Callahan, Jack & Janet ; Shirk, Judy ; john@thurlow.com; Harold Hutchinson (HUTCH@HUTCH-FAX.COM); 'Elaine Richer'
Subject: MEDIATION - COMMUNICATION

To: Peter Truman,
Fr: Jack Callahan, Harold Hutchinson, John Thurlow, Elaine Richer, Judy Shirk
Date: August 23, 2007

Reg: Mediation & E-mail List

The Town Manager and Chairman of the Town Council asked if the Residents Group representatives would be willing to participate in “mediation” on issues of common interest.  The group voted to do so.

Also, the Town Manager made three other suggestions below.  We are more than willing to add you to our e-mail list which will provide you with any information outlined in item 2. Please let us know if you would like to be added to that list.  

Jack Callahan, one of the representatives of the group, agreed to serve as the liaison Mr. Owens suggested. If you wish to meet with him now or in the future, please reply to this email address.  

For the Residents Group,
Jack Callahan, Harold Hutchinson, John Thurlow, Elaine Richer, Judy Shirk  

CC: Ron Owens, Jeff Messer

____________________________________________________________________________

From: Ron Owens [mailto:ROwens@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:26 AM
To: Pine Point Residents Group
Cc: Callahan, Jack & Janet ; john@thurlow.com; Shirk, Judy ; Elaine Richer; ContactMesser; lighthouseinn@adelphia.net
Subject: RE: Wiggin - Agreement : Mediation Response

John, Jack, Judy and Elaine,  

A couple of suggestions for the association to begin opening up the dialogue and taking some small steps to paving the way for possible mediation—  

•  Include the Trumans on the association mailing list thus making it inclusive.
•  Make the Trumans aware of any comments, concerns or positions take by the majority of the group that may affect them prior to any public comment and at least give them an opportunity to respond.
•  Designate a member who can effectively serve as liaison to the Trumans as a way to open up a two-way communication. 

Thanks for agreeing to work within a mediation framework and hopefully you can take the first steps in trying to open a meaningful dialogue with the Trumans.  

Ron  

Ron Owens
Town of Scarborough
____________________________________________________________________________

-----Original Message-----
From: Pine Point Residents Group [mailto: Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com ]
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2007 1:41 PM
To: Ron Owens ; ContactMesser
Cc: Callahan, Jack & Janet ; john@thurlow.com; Shirk, Judy ; ' Elaine Richer '; John Wiggin
Subject: Wiggin - Agreement : Mediation Response

Hi Ron & Jeff,  

John Wiggin attended our meeting last Thursday and explained the lot owners' situation to the 60 neighbors present. The group was appreciative.  John was unable to give us the specifics of an agreement you asked us to work out because his homeowners group cannot meet until early September.   He did feel that there was unanimity among them to do no exterior construction summers.  He also personally feels that there will be interest in strengthening the covenants. Whether that will also be through an amended site plan or not has yet to be determined.

Thank you for the opportunity to work out issues. We will let you know once we have reached an understanding.  

Also, the members of the Residents Group who were present Thursday voted to participate in a mediation or other town-facilitated effort to reach common ground. The members wanted the Town to know that we have always been willing to work with the hotel owners toward a solution and, in fact, proposed the study committee in 2005 for that very purpose.  Please let us know where and when this will happen and we will have representatives there.  

Thank you Ron,  

Judy, John, Jack, Hutch, Elaine

 

Town Council Will Hold 3rd Public Hearing on Ordinance on September 5th

The Town Council will be holding a final public hearing on Wednesday, September 5th at 7:30 at Town Hall.
We urge residents to attend and speak.

 

Town Council Hears from Citizens on the Motel-Hotel Condo Ordinance August 15th

The Town Council held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance. The Residents Group was represented by Jack Callahan with a prepared statement urging passage. Several other speakers made excellent presentations in favor of the ordinance. For "reporting" of the hearing, you can read the articles in the paper. There was also a lengthy editorial in the Leader and Current by three Pine Point Residents which reviewed the history of the Lighthouse Inn's effort to convert to condos.

Click Here for Article in Portland Press Herald

Click Here for Article in the Forecaster

Click Here for Editorial by Dianne McLellan, Linda Welch and Charlotte Guest

 

Residents Group Meeting Draws 62, Agrees on Future Efforts

The Residents Group met August 9th and had excellent attendance. 62 individuals attended and 14 others sent email that they were unable to attend. We were able to complete our agenda (below) and voted to continue our work on issues in the neighborhood, including a campaign to promote adoption of the so-called Condo-tel Ordinance. The group decided to accept Ron Owens offer to participate in what he calls "mediation" with the owners of the Lighthouse Inn. The group does not agree that it has engaged in a feud, but is and has been willing to talk with anyone, including the owners, on the issues. The group also wanted to look into traffic issues, rights of way, and to monitor the Beachwalk subdivision progress. John Wiggin of that Homeowners Ass. attended to answer questions and explain the situation the lot owners are in. They will be meeting in September to consider some of our ideas regarding strengthening the covenants and possibly amending the subdivision approval for the benefit of both lot owners and the public.

 

Residents Group to Meet August 9, 2007 at 7:00 at Fire Station

Click Here for Agenda & Background

 

Portland Press Herald Runs FRONT PAGE Article on Condo Conversions

Scarborough is not the only Town to Regulate Condominium Conversions

Click Here for a Copy

 

Lighthouse Hotel Installs Stockade Fence July 26, 2007

Residents Group Reps Get Several Calls Complaining, DEP Rules Unclear, Town Responds (Below)

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com
[mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 3:58 PM
To: Ron Owens; ContactMesser
Cc: Judy Shirk; Jack Callahan; Elaine Richer
Subject: Re: RE: Pine Point Update

To Ronald Owens:

We would like to inform our group about what action the Town intends to take to have the stockade fence removed which was installed July 26, 2007 between the parking strip at the Lighthouse Inn, the Beachwalk development and the Town property in Pine Point.

You undoubtedly know what an insult this is to the neighborhood, to the general public whose ocean views from the public road have been substantially obliterated, to the new lot owners at Beachwalk, to the citizens of Scarborough who own a parcel of land there, and to all who visit there to enjoy the beauty of the shore and now have a substantial barricade to gaze upon.

We believe the Town has the ability to take action to have this embarrassment to Scarborough and its citizens removed. It will take courage and fortitude by Town officials to confront this latest action, but the community has endured enough.


Thank you.

John Callahan, Harold Hutchinson, Elaine Richer, John Thurlow, Judy Shirk

July 27, 2007

 

From:   "Ron Owens" <ROwens@ci.scarborough.me.us>
To:   <Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com>
Subject:   RE: RE: Pine Point Update
Date:   Fri, 27 Jul 2007 16:27:04 -0400

Judy, Jack, Hutch, Elaine and John,

Unfortunately there is nothing the town can do from a legal perspective. The Trumans have erected their fence for whatever reasons but they are within their legal rights to do what they have done.  In may not be viewed as a neighborly gesture and the necessity for this fence may not be understood but they have acted after consulting with the code office which also viewed the fence after it was installed to insure there were no violations.

This kind of incident can only be resolved through some sort of dialogue between the Trumans, their neighbors and the association.  I would be willing to contact and employ a mediator to speak with all parties and convene a meeting to discuss this most recent incident as well as the much larger issue.  Let me know if the association would be willing to participate and I will then contact the Trumans to solicit their participation.

Somehow we have to bring this simmering feud to a halt and work out a compromise.  Hopefully a third party neutral could attempt to find a common ground.  All issues, conflicts and history needs to be laid on the table for discussion without any position on how to resolve these conflicts.  First they need to be vetted, then openly discussed and then those directly involved committed to search for a solution without any restriction of what can be considered to create a workable compromise.

The Trumans are being copied on this e-mail and I recommend that any future correspondence dealing with the lighthouse motel include them as a first step in creating a meaningful dialogue.
Ron

Ron Owens
Town of Scarborough


 

Leaders Meet with Hollis About his Default
Arrange Meeting with John Wiggin, President of the Homeowners Association,

to Discuss Issues Arrange Meeting with Town Manager Ron Owens

Click Here for Letter to Hollis and Wiggins with Proposed Solutions
Click Here for Cover Letter to Town Manager & Town Council
Click Here for Planning Board Minutes Highlighting Conditions of Approval

July 22, 2007

Construction at Hollis Development Causes 8 hour Water Main Break July 21st

Leaders Send Message to Town Manager Owens and Town Council Chairman Jess Messer

"You are undoubtedly aware of the contractor’s cause of a water main break in Pine Point on July 21st which rendered the entire peninsula without water for eight hours on a beautiful summer Saturday. This episode, along with the condition of the road, sight of construction equipment at the shore, road closings, etc., has served to further upset residents. Once you investigate this matter, you will learn, as we did from Biddeford Saco Water Company, the contractor installed the sewer line beneath the aging water main but failed to compact the material sufficiently causing the main to sag and break. Not only did the entire neighborhood lose water and endured additional traffic problems, but we’ve learned that it may not be fully potable for two to three days after the break occurred."


July 21, 2007

 

 

Town Council Considers First Reading of Ordinance on
Non-conforming Hotels-Motels Ownership & Conversion to Condos

The Town Council held a public hearing on July 18th on the proposed ordinance to regulate the conversion of hotels and motels to condos and place some regulation on hotels and motels which change to multiple ownership. The Council voted to refer this to the Planning Board for its opinion and will hold more public hearings in September.

Click Here for a Copy of the Ordinance Draft

Click Here for The Group's Comments to the Council

 

Lighthouse Inn Files Condo Declaration for 22 Units

The Town Council First Hears Ordinance Proposal,
Refers to Ordinance Committee of the Council
Lighthouse Inn Files Declarations 12 Days later

Town Council Agenda - First Reading of Ordinance Governing Change of Ownership
March 7, 2007

Click Here for Condominium Declarations Files March 19, 2007

Town Files Notice Alerting Buyers April 3, 2007

 

 

Town Manager Ron Owens Provides Update and Responds to Our
Questions of June 10th

 

FROM RON OWENS: JULY 13, 2007

From: ROwens@ci.scarborough.me.us
Date: Jul 13, 2007 16:18
To:
Subj: Pine Point Update

John,

I said two weeks ago I would give you an update but unfortunately I do not have any new information at this time. We are still continuing to discuss our issues and your issues with the property owners through the attorneys.  I can tell you that we are attempting to address the issues that are of importance to the association i.e. that the project be built according to the approved plans and that there be no exterior house construction during the summer months of any year with the exception of the utility work this summer.   There will be no construction beyond the utility work this summer until after Labor Day which should still allow enough time for houses to framed and enclosed before the start of next summer.  Even though we are still in discussions, I would be willing to meet with you and whoever you would like to invite to discuss the situation to the extent I am able.  

Also I now realize I owe you an apology as I have not answered all of your questions since I wanted to avoid detailed comment during our discussions with the property owners until I had some definitive results.   My previous answers to you focused strictly on the results of some of those discussions that I felt I could relay to you; however, I now realize you asked some simple process and factual questions which I neglected to answer in my tunnel vision of trying to find a resolution to this situation.   Some questions still cannot be answered because they are still being discussed as noted in my response.   Please excuse my delay in responding.

 Ron

 

Answers--- 

2. When last we spoke, the Town was having conversations with some of the lot owners to solve the problem of infrastructure construction.  What is the status of those discussions?  Since the road was not built last fall as required, the lot owners cannot obtain building permits, as we understand it.  Is that correct?

A: Growth Permits are required before you can obtain a building permit and growth permits can only be issued when there is a road but the road does not have be paved for a growth permit, a paved road is required for a certificate occupancy.

3. You mentioned that if the Town has to construct the road, it would assess the lot owners for those costs because Mr. Hollis did not make payment of the performance guaranty which would ordinarily be used by the Town. Is this still the case, or did Mr. Hollis complete his obligations?  We noticed that the Town recorded a notice in the Registry on 2/7/07 of this year notifying potential lot owners of the default.

A; Hollis defaulted on a portion of his surety to guarantee the performance of construction once it begins, the property owners are now responsible for construction of the roadway and discussions are addressing this issue.

4. Will the Town be constructing the road known as Claudia Way? If so, when? How will it be funded?

A: The town will not be constructing the road way.

5. We asked that if the Town was going to have to step in and construct the road and other infrastructure, could it be made a public road rather than a private one because of the potential benefits to the Town in the future (its loop with Depot Street).  Is this still a consideration? Who would propose this as an amendment to the Planning Board's subdivision approval, if necessary? 

A: No plans for a public road.

6. Has a homeowners' association been created for this subdivision? Who is the Town dealing with, if anyone?

A: Yes, we are speaking to the association through their attorney.

8. Have there been any developments concerning the Truman property (Lighthouse Motel) in terms of their conversion to condominiums as registered at the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds? We noticed that the Town did record a statement alerting potential buyers of the Town's ordinance. Will that effectively prevent sales of units at this time since there have been no miscellaneous appeals or variances approved by the Zoning Board for this conversion. 

A: No new developments, they can always sell the units but potential buyers are advised of potential legal problems.

9. Last fall we made a proposal to The Council to begin a study for the Ocean Gateway concept for Depot Street and the new Town land there. Councilor Most suggested that this discussion become part of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation. Is there any timeframe for that?

A: No timeframe.

10.  Has the Town of Scarborough issued a demolition permit for removal of the structures that have been razed this past week? To whom was it issued?

A: No .

11.  Has a site-plan amendment been submitted to the Planning Board?

A: No.

12.  Based on your statement ”…the Town does not have the authority to enforce stipulations within Covenants,” would the Town therefore grant a building permit for a three-story stucco contemporary with a steel roof?

A: Will not comment on a hypothetical.

13.  Mr. Hollis was required to submit a plan for landscaping the new Town property (the 3200 SF parcel he conveyed in return for certain concessions allowed under the ordinance). Has that plan been submitted and will the Town ensure that the landscaping is completed before any permits are issued?

A: Subject to current discussions

14. Mr. Hollis was going to construct a public sidewalk along Depot St. from the rotary to Claudia Way and a crosswalk over Claudia Way to the new Town property.  Will that be done as part of the work being done now?

A: Subject to current discussions .

 Ronald W. Owens
Town of Scarborough
207.730.4031

 

Correspondence Between Group and Town Manager & Council Chair
Requesting and Update & Inquiring About the Backhoe at the Hollis Site

June 11 -20, 2007

-----Original Message-----
From: Pine Point Residents Group [mailto:Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com]
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 12:25 AM
To: Ron Owens; Dan Bacon
Cc: galwaybay1@aol.com; 'Judy Shirk'; john@thurlow.com; ContactMesser; 'Patrick J. O'Reilly'; 'Sylvia Most'; Richard Sullivan; 'Carol S Rancourt'; Babine, Shawn ; Paul Lesperance
Subject: Pine Point Residents Group - Request for Information

 

Ron Owens, Town Manager & Dan Bacon, Town Planner

Dear Ron and Dan,

First, congratulations to you, Dan, on your appointment as Town Planner.  We have appreciated your help in the past and your excellent work for the Town, and wish you well in this role.

We're writing because the Pine Point Residents Group will be meeting and we'd like to update everyone about what's happening around De3eekend with concerns about a large backhoe that has arrived on the Hollis subdivision property.  You will recall that Mr. Hollis represented to the Planning Board (and we believe they approved the subdivision with this condition) that no infrastructure work would be done during the summer season.  Would you please let us know what you know about this development and answer our related questions at your earliest convenience?  Thank you very much.

For the Pine Point Residents Group,

Judy Shirk, Jack Callahan, John Thurlow, Harold Hutchinson

Cc: Council, Paul Lesperance, Residents Group

Attached: a list of properties at the Beach Walk (Hollis) subdivision with their assessment data for your convenience.

QUESTIONS

Kindly insert your answers below the items in your reply…

1. We noticed that the assessor's database on the Town's website has been updated to show the new lot owners of the Hollis parcel on Depot St., (deed information, sale amounts and sale dates, etc.), but no assessed values appear except for the Town of Scarborough's lot ($1,408,800.00 for .08 acres). Could we have a list of the assessed values of these 9 lots and would you confirm the date the assessments were in effect?  Also, what is the $15,000 building value on the Town's lot?

2. When last we spoke, the Town was having conversations with some of the lot owners to solve the problem of infrastructure construction.  What is the status of those discussions?  Since the road was not built last fall as required, the lot owners cannot obtain building permits, as we understand it.  Is that correct?

3. You mentioned that if the Town has to construct the road, it would assess the lot owners for those costs because Mr. Hollis did not make payment of the performance guaranty which would ordinarily be used by the Town. Is this still the case, or did Mr. Hollis complete his obligations?  We noticed that the Town recorded a notice in the Registry on 2/7/07 of this year notifying potential lot owners of the default.

4. Will the Town be constructing the road known as Claudia Way? If so, when? How will it be funded?

5. We asked that if the Town was going to have to step in and construct the road and other infrastructure, could it be made a public road rather than a private one because of the potential benefits to the Town in the future (its loop with Depot Street).  Is this still a consideration? Who would propose this as an amendment to the Planning Board's subdivision approval, if necessary? 

6. Has a homeowners' association been created for this subdivision? Who is the Town dealing with, if anyone?

7. Could the assessor explain the assessment on Lot 109A, the Lighthouse Motel Parking Lot.  How was that assessment arrived at? It appears inconsistent with other land values in the area, especially when compared to the Town's .08 acre parcel valued at $1.4 million.

8. Have there been any developments concerning the Truman property (Lighthouse Motel) in terms of their conversion to condominiums as registered at the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds? We noticed that the Town did record a statement alerting potential buyers of the Town's ordinance. Will that effectively prevent sales of units at this time since there have been no miscellaneous appeals or variances approved by the Zoning Board for this conversion.

9. Last fall we made a proposal to The Council to begin a study for the Ocean Gateway concept for Depot Street and the new Town land there. Councilor Most suggested that this discussion become part of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation. Is there any timeframe for that?

Additional questions from our message above…

Has the Town of Scarborough issued a demolition permit for removal of the structures that have been razed this past week? To whom was it issued?

Has a site-plan amendment been submitted to the Planning Board?

Based on your statement ”…the Town does not have the authority to enforce stipulations within Covenants,” would the Town therefore grant a building permit for a three-story stucco contemporary with a steel roof?

Mr. Hollis was required to submit a plan for landscaping the new Town property (the 3200 SF parcel he conveyed in return for certain concessions allowed under the ordinance). Has that plan been submitted and will the Town ensure that the landscaping is completed before any permits are issued?

Mr. Hollis was going to construct a public sidewalk along Depot St. from the rotary to Claudia Way and a crosswalk over Claudia Way to the new Town property.  Will that be done as part of the work being done now?

Again, thank you very much.

====================================================

From: Paul Lesperance [mailto:PLespe@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 2:39 PM
To: Pine Point Residents Group
Subject: RE: Pine Point Residents Group - Request for Information

Dear Pine Point Residents Group,

      As you noticed the Assessor's data base was updated showing new owners and selling prices. The assessments do not get updated. This part of the data base is as of 4/01/06. All property in Maine is taxed as of that date and any changes will be assessed in the 2007 tax year. I committ taxes in August and usually in September we update the data base. The assessment you see for the town lot is last years assessment for the hollis site which has now been sub-divided. The building value for the 2007 tax year is ZERO. The valuation for the 9 lots are not available at this time and probably won't be until sometime in August. The value of 109A is lower because it is considered unbuildable.If you should need anything more please let me know.  Paul 

 

====================================================

From: Dan Bacon [mailto:DBacon@ci.scarborough.me.us]
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 3:15 PM
To: Pine Point Residents Group; lilyattheinn@aol.com
Cc: galwaybay1@aol.com; Judy Shirk; john@thurlow.com; ContactMesser; Patrick J. O'Reilly; Sylvia Most; Richard Sullivan; Carol S Rancourt; Babine, Shawn ; Paul Lesperance; Ron Owens; Sue Ugliest; Paul, Allen (SBT US); Cory Fellows; Anne Littlefield; john.chamberlain@rsli.com; Jim Wendel; Chris Vaniotis; Mike Shaw
Subject: RE: Pine Point Residents Group - Request for Information

Dear Pine Point Residents Group,

In response to your inquiries, we want to provide you with the specifics of the Planning Board approval and some information on the road and infrastructure construction for the Beachwalk at Pine Point Subdivision.

Last July when the Planning Board reviewed and approved Beachwalk, Mr. Hollis of First Step Land Development made a statement at the Planning Board meeting that during the summer/fall of 2006 the construction of the subdivision road and infrastructure would not commence until after October 1 st .  This statement was added as a note to the approved subdivision plan and reads: “The construction of Claudia Way (Road) will not commence until October 1, 2006.” 

He also stated that exterior construction on individual lots/homes would not occur between early June and early October; he did not specify whether that meant only during the summer of 2006 or included future years.  This statement was made to the Planning Board as part of the discussion and was voluntarily incorporated into the Covenants for the subdivision by Mr. Hollis, but was not a condition of Planning Board approval nor was there a note to this effect added to the subdivision plan.  Further, the Town does not have the authority to enforce stipulations within Covenants. 

In accordance with the subdivision note, road and infrastructure work did not occur prior to October 1 st of 2006.  It is now mid June of 2007 and at this point Mr. Hollis is not personally involved with the construction of the road and infrastructure, but rather a group of Beachwalk lot owners have organized to see the work through.  They have a contractor who has commenced work on the infrastructure and road construction, which will be conducted this summer.  Beyond the road and infrastructure work, no building permits have been sought for any individual lots, nor will building permits be issued before various fire access and all-weather road standards are met.

We hope this adds some clarity to the Planning Board's approval and the lot owners' group involved in the road and infrastructure construction process.

Sincerely,

Dan Bacon

___________________

Daniel B. Bacon
Town Planner
Town of Scarborough
(207) 730-4042

dbacon@ci.scarborough.me.us

====================================================

From: "Pine Point Residents Group" <Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com>
To: <Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com>, "'Dan Bacon'" <DBacon@ci.scarborough.me.us>, "Owens, Ron " <ROwens@ci.scarborough.me.us>
CC: <galwaybay1@aol.com>, "'Judy Shirk'" <jshirk@maine.rr.com>, <john@thurlow.com>
Subject: Pine Point Residents Group - Request for Information - Hollis Subdivision
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 00:26:27 -0400

June 18, 2007

Town Manager Ron Owens & Town Planner Dan Bacon

Dear Dan and Ron,

Please indulge us for a moment as we summarize the issues our group has been active in for the past two years for the benefit of those who will receive this email.  We hope this will put our remarks in the proper context of our greater goal, which is to try to influence Town policy regarding this section of Pine Point. There is a lot happening there, and the Town's role is critical. As a group of citizens, we seek to provide Town staff and elected officials with our views for their consideration.  

This is undeniably one of the the most beautiful and visible areas of Pine Point, so when the first issue came about – conversion of the Lighthouse Motel to condominiums– we participated eagerly in the public process through the Zoning Board.  That proposal called for a land exchange with the Town, so it inevitably became somewhat complicated and the proposal was ultimately withdrawn.  When Paul Hollis contracted to purchase the large vacant lot across from the motel, we accepted his invitation to provide input and we ultimately endorsed his proposal and urged the Planning Board to approve it. This was based on the tangible benefits the Town was going to receive, not the least of which was a 3200 SF parcel of land for public use and several conditions the developer agreed to for the benefit of the public.  We also worked with the Town Manager to solve the long-term problems associated with the road barricade on Depot Street which we believed prevented full access to the public road and beach.  The Town Council ultimately decided on a compromise solution which opened the public road while protecting guests of the hotel.  We are now interested in the deliberations of the Council's Ordinance Committee regarding the “Condo-tel” issue which has recently created challenges for the Town.

As we wrote, there is a lot happening there, and the Town's role is very important.

Now on to the issue at hand; the status of the Hollis subdivision.  Thank you  again for your response, Dan. We do, however, have further questions.

In response to your first answer regarding the timing of the infrastructure construction, the language you referenced ( “The construction of Claudia Way (Road) will not commence until October 1, 2006.”) which was added, clearly does not embrace the developer's intent. It wouldn't make sense that the developer's promise to avoid disruption of the summer season at Pine Point was ONLY for 2006, given that the Board's approval came during the middle of that summer. He clearly meant that he would not build or allow construction during July and August.   If tapes of the meetings were reviewed, you will find several representations made to the Planning Board concerning the timing  of the construction, among other things. It is unfortunate that the language you cited does not technically capture the developer's commitments, but the intent was certainly clear and should be enforced.

Has the Town of Scarborough issued a demolition permit for removal of the structures that have been razed this past week? To whom was it issued?

At two neighborhood meetings Mr. Hollis held seeking neighborhood input, Mr. Hollis also represented that no work would be conducted on infrastructure OR exteriors of homes during the summer months – any summer.  The Residents Group endorsement of his plan was based, in part, on his commitments, which we repeatedly urged the Town to memorialize in its approval documents.  You mentioned that Mr. Hollis stated, and we quote from your e-mail, ”exterior construction on individual lots/homes would not occur between early June and early October; he did not specify whether that meant only during the summer of 2006 or included future years.”   How it could it possibly mean otherwise since no homes could be constructed without a completed road, and the road – you acknowledged – could not be built until AFTER October 1 st of 2006.

One of our early fears have been realized  – specifically construction during the summer in direct contradiction to what was promised and – in our view - approved.  We hope the Town will be vigilant in ensuring that every detail Mr. Hollis represented to the Board will be attended to.  If there are technical loopholes which will permit the current developers to renege on Mr. Hollis's commitments, then the Planning Board should be notified and every effort made to ensure that their approval is reviewed and enforced. The integrity of the Planning Board's approval process must be preserved and not subject to loopholes or errors in documentation.  

As to the covenants, our group inquired specifically if the covenants would be adopted by the Planning Board AS a condition of approval and would therefore be publicly enforceable. We were assured they would be in this case. The fear many people had was that once the approval was granted, the homeowners could simply modify the covenants.  As you know, some of the covenants, such as the restricted height of vegetation and “open” fencing, were important conditions to preserve the public's ocean vista and the character of the neighborhood. To use an example, if Mr. Hollis represented that all nine homes would be New England Cottage style, (which he did), memorialized this in the covenants, and submitted the covenants for approval by the Town through the Planning Board process, then that style is what should be constructed there.  Based on your statement ”…the Town does not have the authority to enforce stipulations within Covenants,” would the Town therefore grant a building permit for a three-story stucco contemporary with a steel roof? If so, it begs the question as to why the developer would parade photographs of a particular style of home before the Board and declare that style in covenants. We would request the Town's attorney look into this issue of public enforceability of the covenants in this case.

We have learned that the new contractor apparently intends to pave the road rather than install the imported brick surface Mr. Hollis showed on his subdivision plan.  If this is true it would be another representation made to the Planning Board which should be enforceable. If the Town is going to permit pavement instead, then we assume that a site plan amendment would be required.

Mr. Hollis was required to submit a plan for landscaping the new Town property (the 3200 SF parcel he conveyed in return for certain concessions allowed under the ordinance). Has that plan been submitted and will the Town ensure that the landscaping is completed before any permits are issued? Mr. Hollis was going to construct a public sidewalk along Depot St. from the rotary to Claudia Way and a crosswalk over Claudia Way to the new Town property.  Will that be done as part of the work being done now? We would like assurances that these and all other commitments will be enforced by the Town, notwithstanding that Mr. Hollis is no longer involved. 

We appreciate your reply and that of Mr. Lesperance regarding the valuations of the lots.  Ron, would you please respond  to the other questions we posed here and in our previous e-mail?  One very important question is the role the Town has played in working with the property owners.  We would like all the information we can have to inform our group, including the status of discussions about making Claudia Lane a PUBLIC road which Mr. Owens indicated may be a possibility.  There may be great advantages to having Claudia Lane be a public road since it surrounds the new Town property, and if the Town is considering granting the unfortunate investors any relief, then once again, we urge the Town to negotiate from a position of strength in the best interest of the neighborhood and greater community. 

Thank you again,

Judy Shirk, Jack Callahan, Harold Hutchinson, John Thurlow

(courtesy copies provided to those on Mr. Bacon's message of June 15 th )

 

 

====================================================

From: Jeffrey Messer
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 6:53 PM
To: Pine-Point-Beach@maine.rr.com; Dan Bacon; Ron Owens
Cc: galwaybay1@aol.com; jshirk@maine.rr.com; john@thurlow.com
Subject: RE: Pine Point Residents Group - Request for Information - Hollis Subdivision

 

Ron & Dan,

I don't have a dog in this fight, but councilors do have an obligation to respond to concerns raised by citizens concerning the political process.  I fully understand that covenants aren't worth the paper they're printed on at times and that the current zoning is what is legally binding.  That being said, the planning process would be a farce if applicants can make blanket statements of misrepresentation on the public record to gain approval of a project and then not abide by the commitments they made on the public record.  The minutes of the 7/17/06 Planning Board meeting state quite clearly that Mr. Hollis stated that no infrastructure or outdoor construction will take place between June 1 and October 1 (no specific year was mentioned).  It further stated that construction during this period would be interior only.  I checked with former Planning Board Chairman Mike Wood.  His recollection was quite clear that the intent of the Planning Board action was in line with what was stated in the minutes.  If this is indeed the case, then I would suggest the Town pursue a cease & desist order (or whatever the official legal term would be) to stop and infrastructure or outdoor construction during the summer months.  Citizens need to have faith in the process.  This is certainly a case where that faith is put in jeopardy.  Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.  I will bring this up on the public record at tonight's Town Council meeting.

Jeff 

 

 

 

Construction Begins on Hollis Development Despite Promise of No Summer Work

Loaders and other equipment arrived at the subdivision site on June 11th.
This statement was issued to the Town and Press by the Resident's Group Leaders

STATEMENT: June 22, 2007 . The Pine Point Residents Group endorsed the Beach Walk subdivision in July 2006 based on several conditions, commitments and promises the developer, Paul Hollis, agreed to when he invited residents to neighborhood meetings prior to Planning Board review. These included conveyance of land to the Town, various restrictive covenants to be approved by the Town and incorporated into the final approval, and commitment to not begin construction of infrastructure or exteriors of homes during the summer season.

Additional commitments made by the developer include house design standards ensuring a New England cottage style design no higher than two and a half stories, vegetation height limits to prevent the loss of public views of the ocean, restrictions on boat and RV parking, abandonment and re-vegetation of dune trails, lighting and fencing restrictions, and others.

With commencement of infrastructure construction at the start of the 2007 summer season, agreements have already been violated.

We appreciate the effort of Chairman Messer and the Town Council to investigate this compromise of the public trust, fulfill the original intentions and commitments by the developer, preserve the integrity of the Planning Board process, and hold Town administration accountable for carrying out the project as approved. Oversights in documenting commitments must be rectified.

Developers who make statements to the Planning Board, who submit restrictive covenants for the Board's and Town's approval, and who make representations during their presentations to the Board must be held accountable for carrying out those commitments. They must be documented, publicly enforceable and unalterable without Planning Board review. Planning Department staff must be vigilant in ensuring that they are recorded appropriately. These were put in place to protect the public and preserve the character of the neighborhood.

Judy Shirk John Thurlow Harold Hutchinson Jack Callahan

Leaders of the Pine Point Residents Group

 

Click Here for June 29, 2007 Article in Scarborough Leader

PHOTOS JULY 2007

Water Main Breaks, Road Destroyed


Update Letter to Residents Group Members May 2007

Update to Residents Group on Winter Spring 2007 News

 

Town Council Ordinance Committee Deliberates On Motel Conversions to Condominiums

Forecaster Article About the Ordinance Committee Meeting Held May 7, 2007: Residents Group Spoke

Forecaster Article April 5, 2007 on Nonconformity Ordinance

Forecaster Article March 22, 2007 on Nonconformity Ordinance

Statement by Residents Group Leaders to Town Council March 21, 2007

Forecaster Article August 11, 2006 on Lighthouse Hotel Conversion to 22 Condos

 

Paul Hollis Deeds Open Space and Beach to Town November 2006

Photo of Deeded Parcels Accepted by the Town Council

Town Council Votes to Remove Much of the Barrier October 5, 2006

Forecaster Article October 10, 2006

Photo of Barrier after Removal of Large Portion Ordered by the Town Council

Town Council Tables Barrier Issue to October 4th

 

Council Chair Steve Ross presented his recommendation to the Council at its September 20th meeting that the barriers be removed from the public street known as Depot Street. He explained the historical basis for his recommendation based on research he has done back to 1875 which indicated that the street extends to the Atlantic Ocean. He also stated his belief that it should not be public policy to barricade a public road. Harold Hutchinson, representing the Residents Group, spoke briefly to the Council prior to their deliberation and reiterated our support for removal of the barriers. The Council ultimately chose to table the motion until the October 4th Council meeting and request that a visual be provided showing signage and other details for the road.

 

Town Council Places Barrier Issue on Their Agenda

Wednesday, September 20th at 7:30 at Town Hall

 

Attached is the agenda for the next Town Council meeting, this Wednesday, September 20th at 7:30.  You will see that order number 06-115 states:

"Act on a recommendation to eliminate the barrier on Depot Street."

As you know, the barrier was one of our group's issues and was part of our proposal to the Town Council on September 6th.  We left that meeting with an understanding that the barrier matter and Hollis conveyance of land to the Town would be addressed later, as part of an overall review of the Town's new comprehensive plan.  But the Council has apparently decided to address the barrier matter, specifically, next week as an official action item.  We will let everyone know the outcome.  The meeting is televised on the local cable channel.

 

Click Here for Agenda

 

Town Council Meets with Residents Group Representatives

Wednesday, September 20th at 7:30 at Town Hall

 

The Residents Group representatives met with the Council at their regular meeting on September 6th. For a summary of the meeting and text from the article in the Forecaster, please click here. The Scarborough Leader and Scarborough Current did not cover the story.

 

 

Residents Group Proposal for a Study to Be
Considered By the Town Council

Wednesday, September 6th at 7:30 at Town Hall

 

The Residents Group adopted a proposal in June requesting that a study committee be formed by the Town Council to examine the barrier issue at Depot St. (end of the Pine Point Rd.) and the future use of the Hollis property which is being conveyed to the Town. Town Councilor Patrick O'Reilly presented our request to the Council in July and we have been placed on the September 6th agenda. This is a regular Town Council meeting which is televised on public cable channel 3.

Read a copy of the Proposal and Background Here (large pdf file)

 

 

Lighthouse Hotel Owners Ask Town if Approvals are
Required for "Change of Ownership"

The hotel owners have met with David Grysk, Town Code Enforcement Officer, to discuss a "change of ownership" of the hotel to 22 individually owned units. This was discovered by chance on August 2nd and we were able to obtain a copy of the letter their attorney sent to Grysk as a follow-up. We have also contacted the Town Manager who has assured us that the Town will be determining that this would be a "Change of Use" and require Zoning Board of Appeals approval. He also stated that they can make a claim that this is legal under state law. The Residents Group will be meeting on August 17th to gather more information and plan its response. You can read the Lawyer's letter by clicking below.

Read The Hotel Owners' Lawyer's Letter

Read the Town Attorney's Opinion

Forecaster Article on 22 Units August 11, 2006

 

 

Town Modifies Barrier at the End of Pine Point Rd.
April & May 2006

The Residents Group has advocated for the elimination of the barricade at the end of the Pine Point Rd. After the Town Council's special committee was terminated in April, we approached the Town Manager about the plans for the barricades and he indicated that "something would be done." We asked for input and he agreed. During April and May a "barricade alternative" was developed by the Town. On June 7th the Town Council approved the plan, although it was already under construction. The Residents Group representatives were not aware that it would be a Council action item, or we would have presented our concerns to them directly. It was not posted the agenda until two days before the Council meeting. The slide show below shows the process the Town used to design the barrier alternative.

Click Here to View the Slide Show Prepared for the Residents (requires Internet Explorer)

 

 

 

Archive Information

 

RESIDENTS GROUP MEETINGS


Residents Group Meets August 17, 2006 - Update Here

Residents Group Meets June 21st, Adopts 3 Documents

Residents Group Purpose Statement (PDF)
Pine Point Rd. Study Proposal to the Town Council (PDF)
Hollis Subdivision (PDF)

Update to Residents Group May 19, 2006

Pine Point Pier Article Scarborough Current March 23, 2006

HOLLIS SUBDIVISION

Letter from Paul Hollis to the Neighborhood

Hollis Sketch Plan Showing Open Space Proposal May 19, 2006

Residents Group Leaders Packet to the Planning Board April 20, 2006 (PDF) Large File

Paul Hollis Revises Proposed Subdivision: Letter to Residents

Hollis Revised Sketch Plan

Planning Board Agenda for April 24, 2006 (Site Walk at 5:00 on Vacant Lot)

April 3rd Planning Board Meeting Invitation Letter By Paul Hollis March 20, 2006

Residents Group Review of Land Exchange Scenarios

Developer Paul Hollis' Responses to the Residents Group Questions

Letter to Paul Hollis (Feb 18 06) with Group's Questions (PDF)

Picture of Subdivision (Whole Plan)

Picture of Subdivision (partial)

Aerial Photo with Subdivision Plan Superimposed

Aerial View of the Vacant Lot

Brochure by Developer

Scarborough Current Article 2/23/06

 

COMMUNITY MEETING ABOUT PAUL HOLLIS' 9 HOME SUBDIVISION ON THE TRUMAN VACANT LOT

WAS HELD

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the Blue Point Elementary School

Paul Hollis met with 90 residents Wednesday night and presented an hour-long overview of his company and his proposed 9 home subdivision. More information will be posted soon.


ALERT FEBRUARY 8, 2006

DEVELOPER PAUL HOLLIS PROPOSES
9 HOMES ON TRUMAN LOT

The Town Council Committee met on February 7, 2006 to continue its work on the hotel issue. Developer Paul Hollis attended and presented his concept for a 9 home subdivision on the vacant lot. This developer does not build the homes, he subdivides, installs the infrastructure, and pre-sells the lots. We want to inform the Residents Group of this development and will have more information after our next meeting on February 28th. This project has not been presented to the Planning Board yet. The developer will be asking to meet with neighbors. We continue to represent your views on the hotel conversion and Pine Point Rd. issue, and this proposal may have implications on the Committee work as it relates to the street. But since this was the first time we as your representatives have seen this, and the first time you have seen it, we obviously have many questions and do not want to make any statements until we have more information and can share it with you. We urge you to study this, send us questions we can present on your behalf, and attend any meetings scheduled to share your views. We will plan our own Residents Group meeting to share information on all issues and seek the Group's views on them. The Residents Group could then decide if it wants us to represent their collective views on this proposal as it did on the hotel-street issues.You will notice that the four proposed ocean front lot lines extend to the low water mark, and the building areas (striped) are clearly on the dunes. We hope some of you can do research on these two very important issues to learn what the implications are. This sort of development on such a sensitive area involves complex rules and permitting, and we ought to try to become knowledgeable about it so we can respond. If you're willing to research this, please let us know. Below are links to pictures of the Hollis plan. Some files are large and may take time to load. You also may have to scroll around to see everything. As always, please let your neighbors know and have them e-mail us if they want to be added to the e-mail notification list. We also found an aerial photo and tried to superimpose the plan on it so you can see the impact of the proposed development. Finally, we feel we should equip ourselves with as much information as possible so we can respond knowledgeably. Knowledge can be powerful, and as we proved with the hotel issue, there is strength in numbers. We urge everyone to be patient as we gather more information so we can take public positions that are based in facts and presented with credibility. Our Group's goal has been to make sure that any development preserves the character of Pine Point, preserves public access and views, and benefits the Town of Scarborough. Thank you. John, Jack, Hutch, Judy

MEETINGS

 

August 9 , 2007 at 7:00
Residents Group Meeting
Pine Point Fire Station

October 4 , 2006 at 7:30
Town Council meeting - Barrier Issue to be voted on.

September 20 , 2006 at 7:30
Town Council meeting - Barrier Issue to be deliberated.

September 6 , 2006 at 7:30
Residents Group presents its proposal to the Town Council concerning the Barriers and Hollis property


August 17 , 2006 at 7:00

Residents Group Meeting
Fire Station at Pine Point

June 26, 2006 at 7:00
Friends of Pine Point, 7:00 Fire Station

June 26, 2006 at 7:00
Planning Board Meeting
Town Hall

June 21, 2006 at 7:00
Residents Group Meeting
Fire Station at Pine Point

June 7, 2006 at 7:00
Hollis Neighborhood Meeting
Blue Point School

June 5, 2006 at 7:00
Planning Board Meeting
Town Hall

   

 

 

 

 

 


 

Our Beautiful Treasure, Pine Point Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letters to the Editor: Send to

CURRENT:

currnews@maine.rr.com

FORCASTER:

editor@theforecaster.net

LEADER:
editor@scarboroughleader.com

news@scarboroughleader.com

PRESS HERALD:

use this web site to submit letters
)

 

 

 

2008 TOWN COUNCIL

 

Jeff Messer, Chairman, 22 Down East Ln., 885-5459

Carol Rancourt, P. O. Box 248, 04070-0248, 883-4492

Sylvia Most, 16 W Beech Ridge Rd ., 883-1612

Ronald Ahlquist

Richard Sullivan

Judy Roy

Mike Wood

 

2007 TOWN COUNCIL

 

Jeff Messer, Chairman, 22 Down East Ln., 885-5459

Shawn Babine, 1 Summerfield Ln., 883-0439

Carol Rancourt, P. O. Box 248, 04070-0248, 883-4492

Sylvia Most, 16 W Beech Ridge Rd ., 883-1612

Ronald Ahlquist

Richard Sullivan

Zoning Board

E-mail to Chairperson Patrick Dryzga at pdkkdryzga@aol.com addressed to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

List of Public Officials

 

 


Lighthouse Hotel Conversion Information 2005

Resident Group Concept Plan Idea (low resolution)

Resident Group Concept Plan Idea (high resolution - very large file)

SITE PLAN & MAPS

Site Plan Map of Hotel Proposal

Tax Map of the Town of Scarborough

LETTERS

Letters to the Editor by Judy and Arlene, May 5, 2005

Article in Forecaster April 22, 2005

Letters to the Editor Scarborough Leader April 29, 2005

Letters to the Editor Scarborough Leader April 8, 2005

Pat DeGrinney Letter to Editor April 22, 2005

ARTICLES

News Article: Scarborough Current: on Zoning Board Meeting Held March 9, 2005 (large file)

News Article: Scarborough Current: on Zoning Board Meeting Held April 13, 2005 (large file)

TOWN WEB SITE

Town of Scarborough Web Site Agenda and Minutes Are Online Here

HOTEL & LOT FOR SALE

For Sale Listing of Hotel (this is a .pdf file and requires Acrobat Reader)

For Sale Listing of the Parking Lot

 

 

 

Photos February 2005 (Click for Large Photo)

 

 

The Lighthouse conversion was back on the Zoning Board's agenda Wed., May 11, 2005

This was the 3rd Review by the Zoning Board

The Trumans withdrew their land donation scheduled for acceptance by the Town Council on April 20, 2005