Camden Planning Board discusses downtown design standards, herbicides

The Camden Planning Board was scheduled to meet Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Washington Street Conference Room to discuss a proposed herbicide zoning amendment that would prohibit toxic lawn herbicides used for cosmetic reasons on grounds where multifamily rental dwellings of four or more units, elderly congregate housing, and health care facilities are sited. The group Citizens for a Green Camden, which represents those concerned about a safe environment in town, is the proponent of the amendment. In November, the group submitted a letter to the Camden Planning Board advocating for the amendment. “Our amendment seeks only to ban lawn care herbicides applied for cosmetic reasons: to ostensibly make the lawn and landscape look prettier,” the group said.

The group’s goal is not to regulate structural pesticides, such as those used to eliminate termites or wasps.

In the November letter, the group cited various elderly housing and apartment complexes in town, including Merry Gardens Estates, Highland Park and Quarry Hill, that might possibly be covered under the amendment.

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, the Planning Board planned to talk further about the proposed amendment. The board invited all real estate owners of the mentioned housing complexes to the meeting.

At the same meeting, the board planned to continue discussions about proposed standards regulating downtown renovations, new buildings and expansions. The discussion was to include how building scales must be compatible with the streetscape, how overall masses of buildings might be visually broken into smaller elements, how awning design and colors might complement the streetscape, how building colors should be compatible with the streetscape, and the development of lighting standards, including the prohibition of spotlights, flashing lights and strobe lights.

 

Reminder from Rockport police: blue is a car’s friend

The Rockport Police Department has issued a friendly nudge to car owners that inspection stickers must be up to date. If a vehicle has a green sticker on the front window, the inspection is invalid. Blue is the new color to have.

“I hope you like blue because it is the color you need,” said Rockport Police Chief Mark Kelley. “So that you won’t be seeing blue in the rear view mirror.”

Or feeling blue about the ticker price of a fine.

 

Pathways committee to convene

The Camden-Rockport Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathways Committee will meet Thursday, Jan. 7 at the Rockport Town Office. Camden Public Works Director Rick Seibel will attend and the committee will review funding and its relationship with the Gateway 1 process. Rockport Director of Public Works Steve Beveridge will present his plans for the coming budget year. The committee will discuss task assignments for its members. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

 

Ice-stravaganza

Winter events in the five towns are filling the calendar:

Winterfest will kick off Saturday, Jan. 30 at the Camden Public Library. Now in its eighth year, the Camden Winterfest celebrates community and winter in Harbor Park and the Amphitheatre. The centerpiece of Winterfest activity remains the Community Ice Carving, during which teams transform ordinary blocks of ice into sculptures using traditional ice-carving tools. With or without snow, families are encouraged to attend. Free horse and wagon rides will be offered, and volunteers will serve a variety of hot soups donated by local restaurants, as well as light snacks, and world-famous Arctic Grilled Cheese. Learn more by visiting winterfest.mycamdenmaine.com.

On Saturday, Jan. 30, the Rockport Opera House will host the Snow Ball, a dance and social that hearkens back to the winter carnivals of old but with a modern twist. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the Awesome 80s Band will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. with dancing until 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 each with all proceeds benefiting the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area redevelopment project.

On Saturday, Jan. 30, cross-country skiers and snowshoers are invited to Aldermere Farm on Russell Avenue in Rockport for a moonlight ski tour beginning at 6:30 p.m. Held under the full moon, the tour of the farm will end with a bonfire and hot chocolate overlooking Penobscot Bay. For more information, visit aldermere.org/programs/events.

On Sunday, Jan. 31, the Camden Opera House will present the International Film Festival of the Spirit’s Global Cinema Visions at 2 p.m. And on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m., the Camden Public Library will host local high school musical all-stars The Cause.

The weekend of Feb. 5 to 7 will be the 20th anniversary of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Camden Snow Bowl. The championships are the only organized wooden toboggan race in the country, possibly the world. The weekend will include a Chili and Chowder Challenge, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti supper, winter crafts and skills demonstrations, tubing, and skiing and riding.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, the championships will be marked with fireworks over Camden Harbor at 6 p.m., and a performance by Audio Body at the Camden Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Also that Saturday, the Penobscot Bay YMCA will hold its first annual Snowman Triathlon: indoor iron men and women can tackle lengths of the pool, the stationary bike, and the indoor track in pursuit of the glory of being named the inaugural winner of the event. For more information, visit visitcamden.com/events and search by date or type of event.

 

Five Town Community School District committee considers computer use, naming facilities

The Five Town Community School District Policy Committee, a subcommittee of the school board that oversees Camden Hills Regional High School, will meet Monday, Jan. 11 at 3:30 p.m. at the Bus Barn in Camden to discuss student computer and Internet use rules, and the naming and dedication of school facilities.

Proposed changes to the rules governing computer and Internet use, rules that were initially written in 1999 and revised in 2005, include updates that reflect students’ growing knowledge of the software and hardware. Proposed additions to the policy include:

  • A clause that ends the following sentence: Students have no expectation of privacy in their use of school computers, “whether they are used on or off school property.”
  • The statement: “Students are prohibited from modifying the hardware configuration of any computer. Students may not install or run any software not owned and/or authorized by the district.”
  • The statement: “Students may not attempt to or use any software, utilities or other means to access Internet sites or content blocked by the school filters. Unauthorized Access to Blogs/Social Networking Sites, Etc. – Accessing blogs, social networking sites, etc., to which student access is prohibited.”
  • And the removal of this policy: “Non-School-Related Uses — Using Five Town CSD’s computers, networks and Internet services for non-school-related purposes such as private financial gain, commercial, advertising or solicitation purposes, or any other personal use not connected with the educational program or school assignments.”

On the same day, the school board’s Curriculum Committee will meet at 3:45 p.m. in the Camden Hills library to discuss creating an information sheet for the district and reviewing school report card data, which will be posted on the school’s Web site.