Belfast City Council to discuss farmers’ market parking, shoreline management, second round of McCrum checks

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 8:15pm

    BELFAST — The Belfast City Council will hold its regularly scheduled public meeting Tuesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. and address an agenda that includes a second McCrum employee check, farmers' market parking, and impacts of climate crisis on Belfast’s shoreline, among other topics. 

    According to Belfast City Manager Erin Herbig’s report, the Council will hear a request to spend up to $43,500 from the Keep the Faith Fund, with the funds used to send out a second round of $500 checks to Penobscot McCrum employees, who were left jobless following the devastating fire. 

    The Keeping the Faith Fund holds donations from citizens and businesses to support McCrum workers. The second $500 checks were issued April 28, in anticipation of displaced workers having bills due May 1. 

    “We have been notified that 53 of the 87 McCrum workers that lost employment due to the fire attended the [recent] job fair and most found it very helpful, but there is always a bit of a financial gap in between jobs,” Herbig wrote in her report. 

    Herbig recommends that the Council formally authorize the City Manager and City staff to work with McCrum to distribute up to $45,500 from the KTFF to provide the second round of checks to the 87 former McCrum employees. 

    The current balance of the KTFF is $46,421.02 and Herbig wrote that the City is currently processing a payment from the Go Fund Me account in excess of $53,000. 

    The Belfast Climate Climate Crisis Committee is listed on the agenda, to request City support to convene a meeting of the stakeholders on Belfast’s shoreline. 

    The BCCCC is requesting a meeting of stakeholders to review predictions regarding the effects of climate change, which include sea level rise and storm intensity. The Committee is proposing that the meeting begin with a panel discussion on the impact of climate change on Belfast’s shoreline properties, in addition to laying out various options which both private landowners and the City may consider adapting. A question and  answer session would follow the panel discussion, where feedback would be solicited. 

    “The goal of the meeting is to begin a dialogue and to promote adaptation planning,” according to Herbig’s report. 

    It is noted that the Committee expects no financial commitment from the City to conduct the meeting, with the exception of the cost associated with sending a mailing to shoreline property owners. It is also requested that a member of the Planning Department participate in the panel discussion. 

    Once the meeting has taken place, the Committee will report back to the Council summarizing input from stakeholders and recommended next steps. 

    Climate Crisis Committee member Jerry Brand will be at Tuesday’s council meeting to answer any questions regarding the request. 

    Also on the agenda is a first reading on proposed amendments to Chapter 58 Traffic and Vehicles. 

    The proposed amendment comes after it was: “brought to the attention of City staff following the Belfast farmers' Market’s first summer market at Waterfall Arts that both sides of High Street were being utilized as parking but are marked as no parking. The Belfast Police Department responded to work with event organizers to get parking to just one side of the road; the side closest to Waterfall Arts for increased pedestrian safety as many large trucks utilize Bridge Street. No parking tickets were issued,” the report reads. 

    After investigating further, City staff determined that there is ambiguity for both the public and police that could be addressed through an ordinance amendment. 

    City Hall staff reportedly discussed the issue with BPD and the Public Works Department is recommending that an ordinance amendment is made to Chapter 58 Traffic and vehicles. The amendment would include removal of on-street parking spaces on the bay side of High Street, from John Street to Field Street. The area where parking is prohibited near the intersection of High and Vine streets. 

    “Staff is confident that these changes will improve vehicle and pedestrian safety, preventing folks from constantly crossing the road with already compromised sight lines, while allowing for needed vehicle parking for the farmers' Market vendor and customers during its time at Waterfall Arts, from April through October each year, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday,” the report said.

    If approved by the Council, the city planner is requesting that a motion is made to approve the first reading of the proposed ordinance amendments, and to schedule the public hearing and second reading for the May 17, regular city council meeting. 

    City Planner Jon Boynton and Director Bub Fournier will attend the meeting to present and answer any questions. 

    The agenda concludes with a list of upcoming events in Belfast, with the first listed event, Keeping Belfast Beautiful, to take place May 7. 

    A complete list of upcoming events can be found on the City’s event calendar.

    Belfast City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Meetings are conducted online using Zoom and can be streamed on the City of Belfast website. They also air live on BEL TV and on Belfast Community Radio at WBFY 100.9. 

    Comments can also be submitted by emailing the Council during the meeting. Comments will be presented to the Council.

    An oral comment can also be submitted during the meeting via Zoom webinar. Information for this method can be found on the City website.

    Information and documents related to this meeting are available on the City’s website

    Erica Thoms can be reached at