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School of technology drops plan for fence

By Stephen Betts | Apr 03, 2021

Rockland — The controversy that lasted months between the Midcoast School of Technology and the Rockland Planning Board has ended quietly with the school deciding not to erect a fence.

On April 2, Technology School Director Bobby Deetjen said the board voted not to have a fence around the sides and back of the school.

"The recommendation was made after discussions with the public, school staff and Rockland leadership," Deetjen said.

The seemingly innocuous plan for a fence met opposition from city residents who said the location of the fence would cut off a waterfront path behind the school.

The Rockland Planning Board insisted the fence not block the path, but the school maintained the fence was necessary for safety at the school.

The school began having posts for the fence installed in September 2019, despite no permit being issued.

Then Rockland Code Enforcement Officer John Root warned the Region 8 Cooperative Board in a Sept. 10 stop work order that it risked fines of $2,500 per day and revocation of its temporary permit to use the building, if it failed to comply with his order to stop building the fence.

The controversy dissipated during the COVID-19 shutdown of spring 2020, and did not resume when in-person schooling resumed last fall. The school withdrew its application for the fence last year but did not give up filing it again when the occupancy permit was issued by the city.

Regional School Unit 13 Board member Gerald Weinand, who also serves on the vocational school board, told RSU 13 Board members at its April 1 meeting that MCST planned to remove the posts and to sell the fencing it purchased.

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