Chebeague to vote on public parking, shellfish rules

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Amending the town’s zoning map to create more parking spaces in one shoreland area, and clarifying its shellfish conservation ordinance, are two of six articles island voters will decide Saturday at a special Town Meeting. 

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Chebeague Island Community Center, 247 South Road. 

Amont the non-housekeeping items, Article 3 asks voters to consider approving a zoning change from Limited Commercial to Commercial Fisheries/Maritime Activities.  The area in question is on Tax Map I04, Lot 64, and is about an acre in size. 

Town Administrator Marjorie Stratton said Tuesday about 30 parking spaces may be created on land the private Great Chebeague Golf Club is donating to the town. 

“They would like to limit the number of cars that park on Stone Wharf Road,” Stratton said about the golf club’s land donation.

Residents park on the road that leads into the golf club. The goal is to create more public parking at the wharf and away from the golf club.

Article 4 is contingent upon passage of Article 3. If voters approve the zoning change to create the parking lot, money to build it must be earmarked for the lot and landscaping.

Selectmen recommend using $20,000 from the town’s fund balance and $90,000 from the Stone Wharf Reserve Fund to pay for the entire project.

Town officials estimate parking lot construction at about $98,000. Included in that sum is $10,000 to build an 8-foot wooden stockade fence and to plant evergreens to further screen the prospective lot from an abutting property.

If the fence and plantings cost less than $10,000, the construction costs will be reduced. If the fence and plantings cost more, money will be taken from general construction funds, according to the warrant. 

Strengthening penalties for shellfish harvesting from any areas on the island where the flats or beds are closed is the intent of Article 5.

A person cannot dig up, take or possess shellfish from a closed flat, according to the town’s Shellfish Conservation ordinance. The state imposes up to a $300 fine for a first offense of harvesting from a closed flat. For each offense within 10 years after the first conviction, a fine up to $500 can be charged.

Tightening the municipal ordinance’s language is recommended by the state Department of Marine Resources. Also, all municipal shellfish ordinances should include exactly where shellfish harvesting is banned. Stratton said the town has posted signs alerting harvesters of closed beds at Johnson Cove and the island’s inner hook.

Lisa Connell can be reached at lconnell@theforecaster.net or 781-3661 ext. 183. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

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