By just nine votes, Rockport voters defeated a measure to spending $2 million on a new $4 million library ($2 million was to be raised privately), approved a road acceptance ordinance amendment so that Hawthorne Drive will convert from private to public purview; eliminated what some say is an outdated and cumbersome sidewalk ordinance; and signed a contract with the Southern Maine-based ecomaine for disposal of solid waste. They voted no by just a hair to legalizing marijuana, and approved gun background checks.
And, they approved spending $25 million on a new Midcoast School of Technology.
Of the votes cast for a new library, 1,151 said yes and 1,160 said no.
Rockport voters approved Article 2, a road acceptance ordinance amendment, 1,471 to 781 (See below for full explanation)
They voted 1,596 to 571 to approve Article 3, repealing the town’s sidewalk ordinance (See below for full explanation)
They voted 1,584 to 497 to approve the proposal to contract with ecomaine for the disposal of trash in 2018. (See below for full explanation)
And, they voted 1,611 to 685 for the Midcoast School of Technology expenditure on a new $25 million facility in Rockland.
Hillary Clinton, 1,381
Gary Johnson, 107
Jill Stein, 35
Donald Trump, 740
Rep. to Congress:
Mark Holbrook, 835
Chellie Pingree, 1,479
David Emery, 1,009
David Miramant, 1,307
Rep. to Legislature
Owen Casas, 1,297
Kathleen Meil, 1,000
Register of Probate
Elaine Dostie Hallett, 1,753
Sharyn Pohlman, 1,737
Question 1: Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?
Question 2: Do you want to add a 3% tax on individual Maine taxable income above $200,000 to create a state fund that would provide direct support for student learning in kindergarten through 12th grade public education?
Question 3: Do you want to require background checks prior to the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers, with failure to do so punishable by law, and with some exceptions for family members, hunting, self-defense, lawful competitions, and shooting range activity?
Question 4: Do you want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50 to $9 in 2017, with annual $1 increases up to $12 in 2020, and annual cost-of-living increases thereafter; and do you want to raise the direct wage for service workers who receive tips from half the minimum wage to $5 in 2017, with annual $1 increases until it reaches the adjusted minimum wage?
Question 5: Do you want to allow voters to rank their choices of candidates in elections for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate, and State Representative, and to have ballots counted at the state level in multiple rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by majority?
Question 6: Do you favor a $100,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities, equipment and property acquisition related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds?
ARTICLE 2. Shall an Ordinance entitled, “Ordinance amending the Town of Rockport Road Acceptance Ordinance to allow requests that the Town take ownership of private roads or portions of private roads to be presented to the voters after 25 percent of the abutting lots are developed, provided that any such private road or portion of a private road creates a new linkage between two existing public roads and other conditions are met,” be enacted?
This proposal grew out of a longtime discussion over a particular road in a subdivision off of Old County Road. The Hawthorne Road, which is approximately 2,000 feet in length, is part of the Bay Ridge subdivision Phase Four, and was constructed more than six years ago.
The town had adopted a road acceptance ordinance almost 10 years ago, at a time when there were multiple subdivision constructions underway, with new roads that developers hoped the town would adopt and maintain.
The town voted in 2007 to institute a 50 percent rule, which entailed that 50 percent of the lots abutting a private road proposed for acceptance as a municipal road had to be developed, and include the construction of the principal structure.
Forward to 2015, and the residents of Hawthorne Drive had gradually increased, with new houses, and watched as developments continued on nearby town maintained streets. Their road began to be used as a connector to the nearby roads, but the school buses could no go down it, given that it was a private road.
An effort by Bay Ridge developer Richard Nightingale and residents along Hawthorne Drive worked with the town to propose an amendment to the 2007 road acceptance ordinance, with language that says: “If the private road (or portion of the private road) proposed for acceptance as a municipal road extends between two municipal roads, connecting those two roads, then the 50 percent threshold requirement for applications road acceptance under section 401 [the aforementioned 50 percent rule] shall be reduced to 25 percent.”
ARTICLE 3. Shall an Ordinance entitled, “Ordinance repealing the Town of Rockport Sidewalk Ordinance,” be enacted?
The proposal to repeal a 1996 sidewalk ordinance originated after the actual ordinance was unearthed by members of the Ordinance Review Committee. No one in town had institutional memory that it even existed.
The ordinance, “Relating to Sidewalk Construction and Preservation,” encourages and guides sidewalk construction so that it directs growth the developed areas, and that well-constructed sidewalks “contribute to community aesthetics and social good and help to preserve the town’s traditional villages and neighborhood areas.”
But the town’s Planning Board agreed with the general and growing consensus that the 1996 ordinance is cumbersome and should be entirely rewritten.
At the Sept. 8 public hearing, Geoff Scott, chairman of the Camden-Rockport Pathways Committee, said he was neither for or against its repeal, but encouraged the Select Board to get the pathways committee involved with the crafting of a new sidewalk ordinance.
The board indicated that it would direct the Ordinance Review Committee to write a new ordinance governing pedestrian walkways, if the current ordinance was repealed Nov. 8.
There was some discussion about rewriting the current ordinance, and effort that had begun earlier this year, but then dropped by the Select Board in favor of drafting an entirely new ordinance.
The Select Board voted unanimously to place it on the ballot.
ARTICLE 4. To see if the Town will vote to:
(1) Approve the design, construction and equipping of a new library building at 1 Limerock Street, including demolition of existing improvements on the property and other site work (the “Project”);
(2) Appropriate a sum not to exceed $2,000,000 for the costs of the Project;
(3) To fund the appropriation in (2) above, and, provided the Town has received donation commitments or funds from other revenue sources in an amount at least as large as $2 million, authorize the Treasurer and the Chairman of the Select Board to issue, at one time or from time to time, general obligation securities of the Town of Rockport, Maine, including temporary notes in anticipation of the sale thereof and future refunding obligations, in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $2,000,000, and to delegate to the Treasurer and Chairman of the Select Board the authority and discretion to fix the date(s), maturity(ies), denomination(s), interest rate(s), places(s) of payment, call(s) for redemption, current or advance refunding(s) of the securities, form(s), and other details of said securities, including execution and delivery of said securities against payment therefore, execution of certificates, loan agreements and any other documents reasonably related thereto, and to provide for the sale thereof.
ARTICLE 5. Shall the voters of the Town of (Rockport, Camden, Hope and Lincolnville) authorize the Board of Directors of the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation to enter into a contract for up to 5 years to dispose of Municipal Solid Waste to commence on or about April 1, 2018, for the fixed price of $57.85 per ton plus annual increases in the Consumer Price Index and on such other terms and conditions that the Board of Directors deem appropriate with ecomaine, a non-profit corporation owned solely by municipalities and located in Portland, Maine?
At June Town Meeting, Rockport residents voted against a similar article, which asked the town if it would accept the recommendation of Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation for handling the disposition of municipal solid waste by ecomaine, of Portland, after the termination of the current contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Plant, a waste-to-energy incineration facility in Orrington, in 2018.
At the time, the town was debating whether to go instead with Fiberight, Fiberight, a different company proposing an alternative waste disposal technology at a yet-to-be-constructed plant in Hampden.
After the defeat, and the results of the other town meeting votes of Camden, Hope and Lincolnville to endorse of opposed the ecomaine contract, the discussion returned to MCSWC. The board of that nonprofit then reworked contract negotiations with ecomaine, taking the terms from 20 years to five, and reducing the tipping fee. All four towns are again to vote on the new contract Nov. 8.
Rockport resident Heaven Bartlett, who sits on the Rockport Budget Committee, had asked at a Sept. 8 public hearing, “what happens if we vote no.”
Chapman said: “It goes back to Midcoast Solid Waste for another consideration. If all four [towns] are not in agreement, then it’s back to the board directors to come up with another proposal to go before voters in June.”
Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at email@example.com; 207-706-6657