Cumberland council delays vote on pier pact

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday unanimously postponed a decision on a license agreement for a proposed new pier at Broad Cove Reserve.

The action allows more time for all parties involved to study the details.

The pact is between the town – which owns the Casco Bay reserve – and 179 Foreside Road LLC, representing the 10-member homeowners association at 179 Foreside Road.

The two parcels together once made up the approximately 100-acre Payson property.

The town’s piece, which it purchased from Portland developer Bateman Partners in 2014 to provide beach access and other use by the public, includes 2,200 feet of shoreline and a 200-foot pier. Bateman developed the homes that neighbor the public parcel.

The town in December 2015 signed a memorandum of understanding with 179 Foreside Road for a replacement pier at Broad Cove. The existing pier was constructed for personal use, with a limited remaining life, former Coastal Waters Commission Chairman Lew Incze said at the time. He estimated the structure could last another five years, barring no major storms or icing.

But the storm that hit late last October forced the town to close the pier due to structural concerns about its deck support system, Town Manager Bill Shane said in an interview Jan. 19.

“We’re developing temporary repairs for that, and we’re going to try to do that with our town staff,” he said.

A new pier could cost about $500,000, with $200,000 contributed by the state’s Small Harbor Improvements Program, $150,000 from town reserves, and $150,000 from 179 Foreside Road. The town would accept those funds from the Broad Cove homeowners’ association as part of the agreement discussed Monday.

But since the state funds are not scheduled to be available until Jan. 1, 2020, “we have two more years before we’re going to be even able to replace (the pier),” hence the temporary repairs this spring, Shane said.

Those repairs, the cost of which is being determined, include “putting in some support structures, that we could do ourselves, but if not we’ll have to subcontract,” he said.

The manager will also see if the town can be moved up on the state’s funding list if other projects fall through, although given the competitive process, “that’s a long shot,” he said.

Through the proposed agreement, Broad Cove residents will pay half the annual maintenance costs of the new pier, up to $5,000. The developer and town would match capital reserve funding up to $5,000 for general maintenance repairs. The homeowners would have their own moorings and mooring fields, separate from those used by the public.

While the existing pier has steps leading up from the shore, the replacement would have a ramp to improve accessibility. The new structure would extend out about 170 feet, connecting to an 80-foot ramp leading down to the floats. It would be 6 feet wide, or 2 feet wider than the current pier.

Because the conservation easement governing the neighboring properties allows only one pier, it is important for the replacement structure to “work harmoniously for the (179 Foreside Road) residents as well as for the entire community,” Shane said.

While Bateman Partners was prepared to issue a $150,000 check to the town for the homeowners’ share of the new pier, the developer did mention giving the homeowners more time to study the agreement, which was only on the town website for a handful of days, Shane said.

“If you want to to delay this for two weeks, or four weeks, there is really no urgency in time,” he added. “None of these fees kick in until the pier is actually built.”

Stacey Giulianti was among homeowners association members asking for the postponement. While the agreement likely makes legal sense, he said, more time is needed to discuss it with Bateman and all the homeowners.

Since Giuilanti figured a month would suffice, the Town Council tabled the matter to Feb. 26.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

An aging pier at Broad Cove Reserve in Cumberland, shown in this 2015 photo, is due to be replaced in 2020.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.