The Limington Free Press
The People of Limington's On-Line Newspaper for News and Opinion
April 22, 2002     Volume 2 Number 3     Index

Hundreds of Tires Disappear from Limington Roadways
Also in this issue:
Tucker Road Subdivision Approved
Planning Board Elects Officers
  - Selectmen appoint member and alternates
Letter to the editor
  - Fire Chief is Asset to Limington

Hundreds of Tires Disappear from Limington Roadways
Community volunteers make the Earth Day clean up of Limington a huge success.

All stories by Dick Jarrett

Earth: Love it or lose it
    Earth Day came two days early to Limington as community volunteers scoured the local roadways on Saturday April 20th for old tires, refrigerators, trash, and miscellaneous junk.  Some of the discarded tires had been sitting around so long that ten-foot tall saplings had grown up through the center of the tires!  Most of the trash appeared to be the work of "midnight dumpers" who apparently care little for the community or the environment.  Organized unofficially this year by Bethany Brown, the Earth Day clean up could become an annual event as there are still many roads in Limington desperately in need of attention.

    Part of the problem is that many communities have made it more difficult to get rid of trash so that rural roads such as those in Limington have become favorite dumping grounds for unscrupulous individuals.  To combat this problem, clean-up groups concentrated on the River Road, Route 11, the Mill Pond, and Route 117.  Most of the tires were picked up at the start of the discontinued Sawyer Mountain Road.  Just how rural is this area?  Recently the state mapped this land as part of the single largest undeveloped block of land in York County.  The old road is now used as a favorite hiking and snowmobile trail to access Sawyer Mountain.  Both the top of the mountain and the trailhead on Route 117 are now owned by the non-profit Francis Small Heritage Trust that was founded to purchase such areas so that they may be kept open for public use.

    How many tires were actually picked up on Saturday?  Well no one was counting, but there were enough tires to fill completely the dump truck generously furnished by Calvin Lewis and New Hope Excavating.  Even then there were more tires than would fit so that Gary Libby loaned his truck as well!  Combined with the many pickup and trailer loads of rubbish taken to the Limington Transfer Station, a tremendous amount of trash was removed from the Limington countryside.  Special thanks goes not only to Calvin and Gary who loaned their construction equipment but to the many volunteers who gave up their Saturday morning including Bethany, Dan, Nate & Keisha Brown, Julie & Trevor Jennings, Sommer Michaud, Corey Wilcox, Chelsea Jackson, Arthur Brown, Debbie Doughty, Peter Stebbins, Lorraine & Sherwood Libby, Bruce, Sherry & Sam Beety, Ned Bracket and his grandchildren Kelvin & Ashley Bailey, Paul Thompson, Andrea & Dick Jarrett, as well as others who escaped without recognition.

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Tucker Road Subdivision Sails through Approval Process

    Less than two hours after the final plan for the Meadow View Subdivision was presented to the public and the Limington Planning Board, the board unanimously approved the four-lot subdivision.  Limington resident Dennis Doughty, who lives near the subdivision, protested that since the plans were only presented to the public for the first time that evening at the public hearing, no member of the public had had a chance to study to plans and therefore no member of the public could make meaningful comments about the project.  Furthermore, by presenting the information at such a late date, no independent engineering review could be made.  While the board was able to view a preliminary copy of the plans two weeks before, these plans were not made available at the Town Clerk's office so that the public could not even study the preliminary plans.

    In apparent contradiction to local and state laws and the Limington Comprehensive Plan, the phosphorous loading problem was not addressed.  (See the April 4, 2002 edition of the Limington Free Press.)  Phosphorus loading may be a problem because the two streams that flow through the subdivision drain directly into Horne Pond.  In fact contrary to common sense, the plan actually requires that fertilizer be applied to the area based upon soil tests.  The plan also recommends specifically the use of nitrogen and phosphorus based fertilizer!  Such fertilizers have been implicated in the death of many ponds throughout the country.  Phosphorus loading is a cumulative problem.  While a single four lot strip development will probably not mean the end of Horne Pond, the cumulative effect of many subdivisions combined with the normally less regulated creation of single house lots outside of the subdivision process, could have very negative effects on the pond.  As a justification for ignoring the phosphorous requirement, the board mentioned specifically that a nearby eleven-lot subdivision had not caused a problem, although no actual measurements were in presented in evidence.

    The definition of a stream also came up in the discussions.  Any project within Limington must conform to both state law and the laws enacted by the Limington people.  The Limington people have defined a stream as any perennial stream appearing as a solid blue line on the USGS maps.  These official maps show two streams flowing through the property.  The DEP has a different definition for a stream so that in the opinion of one DEP representative, only one of the two streams meets the state definition of a stream.  Both Limington law and the state law require a seventy-five foot setback from streams (i.e. a 150 foot wide stream protection zone).  The final subdivision plan only shows the setback for the stream identified by the DEP as a stream.  For the smaller stream, the board allowed the developer to show only a 30 foot wide drainage easement rather than the 75 foot setback specified in the zoning ordinance.

    Also of concern were the very permeable Colton soils listed as occurring in the subdivision.  The Limington Subdivision Ordinance requires that if septic sewage disposal is proposed for soils such as these that are rated as "severe" for septic tank adsorption fields, that a hydrogeological study be performed to guarantee the safety of the project.  Indeed, this was a major stumbling block for the 20-unit Webster Mill Place low-income housing project that was also listed as having Colton type soils.  York Cumberland Housing abandoned that project last November after they complained of endless delays by the Planning Board.  In that project, not only was the developer required to submit a hydrogeological study, but the developer also was required to pay for an independent review by an engineering firm selected by the Planning Board.  In stark contrast, the board found that a hydrogeological study was unnecessary for the lots in this subdivision after Selectman York presented, after the public hearing was closed, soil tests from other developments he had done.

    The final issue discussed was the Limington Subdivision Ordinance requirement that the York County Soil and Water Conservation District or the Maine Soil and Water Conservation Commission review the soil erosion and sediment control plan.  This requirement was written into the law because the Planning Board members are not expected to be experts in these technical areas.  Both elected member Kreg Rose and alternate Kevin Doughty (no relation to Dennis) felt that the required independent review should be performed.  However they were out-voted by the rest of the board who granted a waiver of this subdivision ordinance requirement.

    The Meadow View Subdivision plan was prepared for Dennis & Nina Sweatt and the owner of record is shown on the plan as Michael D. York, Sr.  Selectman York presented the final plan to the board at the public hearing on April 18th.

Meadow View Subdivision
A portion of the Meadow View Subdivision plan
U.S.G.S. map
USGS map blown up to approximately the same scale

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Limington Planning Board Elects Officers

Selectmen appoint new member and two alternates to the Limington Planning Board.

    Following his election as selectman, Stanley R. (Pubby) Blake resigned his position on the Limington Planning Board.  To fill this vacancy, Selectman Blake, Selectman Michael D. York Sr., and Selectman Herbert Ramsdell appointed Dawn Marie Dunbar to fill the position until the next annual town meeting.  The selectmen also appointed as planning board alternates Kevin Doughty and Michael D. York, Jr.  Mr. Doughty also served as an alternate last year.

    At the last planning board meeting, the board re-elected Wendy Walker as chair and Diane Hubbard as vice-chair.

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Letter to the Editor

Fire Chief is Asset to Limington

    I am writing this letter in response to a recent article I read in your paper in reference to Fire Chief Robert Brown Jr.  I have known Mr. Brown on both a personal and professional level for nearly 10 years.  In this time we worked as a team for a private Ambulance Company, and as advisors for a Fire & Rescue Explorer Post.  In the time I have known Mr. Brown he has advanced from a Paramedic to a Firefighter, to an EMS Instructor, and most recently to Fire Chief.  Mr. Brown brings many years of Fire & EMS experience to the Town of Limington.  Mr. Brown has also worked in several small towns and is no stranger to small town politics.  The way I see it is that the selectman in Limington need to stop the micro managing and allow Chief Brown to do the duties in which he was hired to do.  Chief Brown is an asset to any small town and should be treated as such and not just as a figurehead.  The Town of Limington is very fortunate to have a man with as much experience as Mr. Brown.  The Selectman of the town should worry more about the liability they have created by appointing Fire & EMS officers that may not be qualified, than what the Chief of Fire & EMS is doing to effectively run a professional Department.  If the Fire Chief or any other agency needs to purchase items to limit liability or injury to people of the town, they should be able to do so without approval of the selectman.  The voters allocated the money for the Fire Dept. to use as the Chief sees fit.  The selectman should take a step back and look at the asset they have in Fire Chief Robert Brown Jr.

Respectfully submitted,
Brian S. Starkey
Assistant Chief Retired
York, Maine Fire & Rescue

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