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Workforce housing funds, FairPoint easement on Harpswell ballot

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Workforce housing funds, FairPoint easement on Harpswell ballot

HARPSWELL — The town will hold a special Town Meeting on Election Day, Nov. 3, to decide whether to authorize a grant for a workforce housing subdivision, and to grant FairPoint Communications an easement to install utilities on a new cellphone tower.

Both questions will be asked on a secret ballot during votes held at three polling locations. 

The first question authorizes the Board of Selectmen to act as the conduit for a $40,000 Community Development Block Grant for the Greater Brunswick Housing Corp., a local non-profit housing organization that is working with Harpswell Community Housing Trust on the Hamilton Place workforce housing project.

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.

The CDBG grant would help fund infrastructure for the development.

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 has to be put before voters because the issue has never been raised at Town Meeting. 

The second question addresses an easement for FairPoint Communications to install communications equipment on the town's new cell tower near the transfer station on Mountain Road.

Eiane said that although Central Maine Power Co. didn't require an easement to do the same thing, FairPoint has requested one. Eiane said she wasn't completely sure why. 

Both ballot questions will be discussed during an Oct. 15 public hearing at the West Harpswell Islands School. The hearing begins at 7 p.m. 

Voting on Nov. 3 will take place at the Merriconeag Grange at 529 Harpswell Neck Road (for Harpswell Neck residents), the Cundy's Harbor Community Building at 837 Cundy's Harbor Road (Great Island residents) and the Old Orr's Island Schoolhouse at 1594 Harpswell Islands Road (Orr's Island and Bailey Island residents). 

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