Restaurant owner Christina Sidoti will be able to continue serving customers at Paolina’s Way on a patio she built on town-owned land, if she agrees to stipulations made at the Oct. 5 meeting of the Camden Select Board.

After it was discovered that Sidoti, doing business under the name Christina’s Way LLC, had repaved a portion of the public landing property, board members agreed in June that it would be in the interest of the town to have a clear survey of the public landing. At that time, Sidoti was asked to move her tables off the town’s land.

In the absence of Chairman Karen Grove, Deborah Dodge moderated the meeting. Selectman Morgan Laidlaw abstained from voting on the matter because his business, Harbor Dogs, has a licensing agreement to operate at the landing.

The board approved a new licensing agreement with Sidoti that would require her to pay an annual fee of approximately $1,500 for the 368-square-foot area. This fee would be linked to the consumer price index and would be reevaluated annually. Sidoti would also have to delineate her serving area with a safety cordon that has weighted post bases, maintain the patio so that the surface remains level relative to the pavement and does not constitute a tripping hazard, provide annual proof of liability insurance certifying that the town is an additional insured party, and make no further incursions on town-owned property.

The Select Board approved the new licensing agreement pending review by Town Attorney William Kelly and Sidoti and her legal representative.

Wind skeptics seek seats on task force

During the public input period at the start of the meeting, the board heard from Dorie Klein of the Friends of Ragged Mountain who presented an update that had been postponed from a previous agenda.

Klein told the board that 240 people were now members of the organization that she earlier said had been formed “out of necessity to preserve Ragged Mountain from industrial wind power development and construction on Ragged Mountain and the ridge.”

While no specific proposal has been made to build wind turbines on Ragged Mountain, Camden’s Energy Committee has been discussing the matter and Camden has invited Hope and Rockport to nominate members for the Ragged Mountain Wind Workgroup, a nine-person, three-town committee to explore the future of wind power on Ragged Mountain.

Klein said at the Oct. 5 meeting that, of her organization’s 240 members, 101 were Camden residents. She said 29 members lived in Rockport and 22 in Hope, with the remainder coming from outside the three-town area.

“Many of these people lived, grew up, or recreate here,” she said.

Klein said there were at least 300 homes within a mile and a half of the Ragged Mountain ridgeline and pointed to ordinances from five Maine municipalities that she asked Town Manager Roberta Smith to look to as models for possible wind development regulations in Camden. Klein said she also delivered those ordinances to Rockport Town Manager Robert Peabody and Hope Town Administrator Jon Duke.

She said the best of those ordinances was that of the town of Phillips, approximately 20 miles northwest of Farmington.

Klein asked the board to clarify the selection process for the three-town committee and was told that the names of those who filled out committee interest forms would be reviewed at the next Select Board meeting, on Oct. 26. While it is not required that a person be present to be appointed, Dodge said the board might have questions for applicants at that time.

To date, six Camden residents have turned in committee interest forms for the Ragged Mountain Wind Workgroup. They are Sue Fleming, Cindy Gagnon, Ken Gross, Klein, Dana Strout and Andrea Young.

Board approves plan for low-income down payment grant

The Select Board approved a request to appoint the Camden Housing Committee as the committee that will administer a Community Development Block Grant that will provide $250,000 for down payment assistance for qualified buyers of homes in the Lupine Terrace subdivision.

In order to qualify, recipients must have incomes lower than 80 percent of the area’s median income, said Joanne Campbell, president of the Camden Affordable Housing Organization, or CaHO, and the Camden Housing Committee.

She said the grant would provide a subsidy of up to $30,000 per unit and that other grant funds could increase the amount available to buyers. Campbell said CaHO was looking for eight to 10 families for this phase of the development and that funds needed to be used within 18 to 24 months.

Certified CDBG administrator Rodney Lynch was authorized to sign grant drawdown requests on behalf of the town and will act as a consultant for the project. CaHO will administer the project and maintain the confidentiality of applicants for the low-income housing.

Bid awarded for Steamboat Landing improvements

The board approved an expenditure of $100,650 to repair and improve the launching ramp and install a turnaround area at Steamboat Landing, and designated George C. Hall & Sons of Rockland to do the work. Of that total, $11,900 will be taken from the Harbor Projects Reserve line of the town budget.

Riverwalk grant gets nod

Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Kuller described the work being done to establish a pathway on town-owned land along the Megunticook River adjacent to the former Apollo Tannery.

Less than a quarter-mile long, the trail corridor was permanently set aside for the public in May 2009 after a favorable public vote in November 2008. A riverwalk easement was conveyed by the town to Coastal Mountains Land Trust to provide public access and to permanently protect the plant buffer along the river’s edge.

Kuller said that about 150 hours of volunteer time have already been put into the project and asked for approval to apply for a state Department of Conservation Recreational Trails Program grant. The grant would require a 20-percent match that Kuller said could be met with hours contributed by volunteers.

He noted that a workday was scheduled for Oct. 16 to continue the removal of invasive plants and to provide residents with an opportunity to walk the proposed route.

The board agreed to authorize the town manager to enter into an agreement with Friends of the Pathway in order to apply for the grant.

October, November board meetings rescheduled

Due to a number of scheduling conflicts, the Camden Select Board approved the following dates for their upcoming meetings.

  • Oct. 26 — Regular Select Board Meeting at 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 9 — Regular Select Board Meeting at 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 15 — Annual workshop meeting with Town Attorney William Kelly at 6 p.m.
  • Nov. 23 — Regular Select Board Meeting at 7 p.m.

All of the meetings listed above will be held in the Washington Street Conference Room. For more information contact the Camden Town Office at 236-3353.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.