Chebeague sets February vote on fire truck, parking lot

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — A special election will be held Feb. 9 to vote on purchasing a new fire engine and whether the town should build a parking lot near Stone Wharf.

Christopher Loder, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said the primary purpose of the special election will be to approve buying the fire engine, which will cost around $230,000. Loder said the board isn’t allowed to enter into agreements that would put the town in debt without voters’ approval.

The town’s old fire truck from the early 1980s “has been retired,” according to Loder. He said firefighters have been using a loaner truck through a short-term lease with Greenwood Emergency Services of Brunswick.

He said it’s important that the town purchase a new truck.

“It’s a critical piece of equipment for the town,” Loder said, which officials hope to have on the island by next summer.

Voters will also be asked to approve an agreement to build a parking lot near Stone Wharf on a piece of land owned by the Great Chebeague Golf Club, which the town has been discussing since 2014. Voters in June approved continuing the discussion in a nonbinding vote used to guide the negotiations.

The golf club has offered to donate nearly an acre land along Stone Wharf Road so the town can have up to 40 parking spaces to serve the wharf. An agreement to transfer the land to the town has been written and, if approved by voters, a survey and engineering study would be completed.

Loder said the study will include a design for the lot and an approximate cost,  which will have to be approved by residents.

The agreement to be voted on in February also takes abutters into consideration. The Holmbom family lives adjacent to the land, but their septic system is located on the golf club’s lot. The agreement states that the family will continue to maintain the septic system and the parking lot will be built around the system.

Loder said the parking lot project is “going to take some time to do,” but would be beneficial for convenience and safety reasons. Ferry users and others now park along Stone Wharf Road, creating an inconvenience and “a potential hazard” to golfers and the public.

Having a parking lot would provide a safe, designated area for people to park their cars and would reduce the need to park alongside a road, he said.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.