Warren sets meetings for school settlement, rifle range

By Beth A. Birmingham | Oct 18, 2013
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham

Warren — The town of Warren has set public meetings to deal with two long-standing issues.

A public informational meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at Warren Community School to discuss a proposed out-of-court settlement over the aborted sale of the town’s former primary school to Robert Emery Jr.

At the open meeting, Interim Town Manager Glenn Aho and town attorney William Kelly will explain the proposed settlement, take questions from townspeople and address any concerns over the agreement.

A copy of the tentative settlement is posted on the town’s website and also is available at the town office.

A special town meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. also at the Warren Community School.

Voters will be asked to approve and ratify the conditional settlement agreement between the town and Emery, as a full and final resolution of pending claims in relation to the 44 School Street property.

If the settlement agreement is not approved, the selectmen and Kelly will then continue to defend the town in the lawsuit.

Selectmen called for the public informational meeting earlier this month to ensure voters understand the agreement prior to the special town meeting vote.

According to Aho, Board Chairman Douglas Pope and other selectmen recently said the agreement is the best outcome for the town in settling the matter without further court action and costs.

The proposed agreement calls for the former school to be auctioned and the proceeds split 60 percent for Emery and 40 percent for the town.

Selectmen agreed the public hearing was important after some townspeople suggested there be an informational meeting before the special town meeting to consider a vote over the agreement.

During a selectmen meeting this month, Pope said the public hearing will give residents a chance to question the board’s proposed agreement and have the details explained by Kelly prior to any town meeting discussion and vote.

The tentative agreement with Emery has nothing to do with a lawsuit filed against the town by the California-based company — CRC Health Group— that intended to lease the former school from Emery.

Also on the warrant for special town meeting, residents will decide whether to continue to waive foreclosure of the tax lien on the Steamship Navigation Company property off Route 90 in Warren.

The town has opted for several years not to foreclose on the former gun range out of concern that it might have to pay for a cleanup of the property. The company left a large quantity of flammable polyester fiber scraps there, which it had planned to use to build berms for the rifle range.

The most recent development with the rifle range occurred on Sept. 18, when four bids proposing to process 27,000 tons of waste were submitted to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

According to Michael Parker, environmental specialist with DEP,  the bidders were Farley & Son, Inc. of Rockport; S.J. Clisham, Inc. of Winterport;Triumvirate Environmental, Inc. of Somerville, Mass.; and the University of Maine.

Parker had previously said it is not necessarily a done deal that the waste will go to Dragon Products to be used as an alternative fuel, but that is the most likely solution to cleaning up the former R.D. Outfitters rifle range site.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.


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