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Harpswell voters overwhelmingly approve affordable housing grant, cell tower work

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Harpswell voters overwhelmingly approve affordable housing grant, cell tower work

HARPSWELL — The town can now authorize a $40,000 grant to benefit Hamilton Place, a workforce housing development on Harpswell Neck, thanks to a decisive approval from voters on Election Day. 

Voters also approved an easement that will allow FairPoint Communications to install utilities on a new cellular phone tower. 

The Community Development Block Grant authorization was approved by a 3-1 margin, 2,100 to 707. The vote to grant the FairPoint easement was even more lopsided, 2,496 to 294.

According to the town clerk's office, 2,863 of Harpswell's registered voters cast ballots Tuesday, a 70 percent turnout. 

Both local questions were on a special Town Meeting warrant.

If approved by the Board of Selectmen, the Hamilton Place grant will go toward infrastructure at the development, which is overseen by the Greater Brunswick Housing Corp., a non-profit housing organization that is working with Harpswell Community Housing Trust.

Hamilton Place is a 22-acre subdivision that hopes to create 15 homes for working families trying to continue living in Harpswell, a town with one of the state's highest median home prices. So far, the development has two homes built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

Last March, Town Meeting voters rejected an allocation of $50,000 for the development. Several residents said the town couldn't afford the allocation because of the economic crisis. According to Town Administrator Kristi Eiane, the CDBG authorization was put before voters because the issue has never been raised at Town Meeting.

The easement for FairPoint Communications will allow installation of communications equipment on the town's new tower near the transfer station on Mountain Road.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net