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Agreement reached on Pine Point pier in Scarborough

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Agreement reached on Pine Point pier in Scarborough

SCARBOROUGH — A proposed pier at Pine Point will move forward after a deal was reached between the town and the Lobstermen's Co-op, which owns the property where the pier will be constructed.

Despite lengthy and, at times, contentious negotiations, the Town Council unanimously approved a lease and gave Town Manager Tom Hall the go-ahead to sign other related documents during a meeting on Wednesday evening.

"There were a few remaining issues, but I'm glad to say we have worked through those issues," Hall said.

The dispute over the pier stemmed from the town's discovery that the council approved a one-year parking agreement with the co-op in 1991 that gave the business the 25 parking spaces required for a restaurant of that size.

Since then, the business and town have maintained a "gentleman's agreement" that patrons of the restaurant will use the nearby municipal parking lot.

The new agreement makes that understanding official, setting aside 25 unmarked spaces in the parking lot for the restaurant and putting it in compliance with the town's regulations.

Despite being in favor of a new pier, members of the co-op expressed concern during the negotiations that the town was taking advantage of that agreement and forcing the co-op to sign the easement and parking lease.

However, the co-op's concerns were waylaid by including a section in the lease agreement that would require the town and business to go through an independent arbitrator if the town found the co-op in default of its lease. The process would also require a public hearing.

Gary Johnson, one of the co-op owners, said Wednesday night that he was happy to see the negotiating process complete.

"Yes, I'm relieved," he said after the vote.

The new pier will be built next to an existing pier, which juts out into the shallow bay near the co-op building and restaurant. It will include a hydraulic lift for fishermen to use when hauling their catch.

Hall said the pier, approximately half of which will be paid for by state and federal funds, will not require user fees for fishermen.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net