Cumberland council elects leaders, eyes land purchase

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday unanimously chose a new chairman and vice chairman, and scheduled public hearings for June 30 on a cell tower lease agreement and land purchase.

Councilor Tom Gruber, who has served as vice chairman, replaces Bill Stiles as chairman, and Peter Bingham is the new vice chairman. Both Stiles and Gruber won uncontested re-election to the panel June 10.

The Town Council will hold a hearing June 30 on whether to authorize Town Manager Bill Shane to sign a cell tower lease agreement with Verizon. The tower, which would be built at the Val Halla maintenance building, must also receive site plan approval from the Planning Board. Shane said that might happen in August or September.

Another June 30 hearing would authorize Shane to sign an agreement to acquire land off Tuttle Road. The 13.13-acre parcel, owned by the Maine Central Railroad Co., is adjacent to the Town Forest.

The town approached the company about whether it had any plans for the land, and having nothing in mind, the company offered the town the land. The company accepted the town’s offer of $40,000, Shane said.

No designated use for the parcel, comprised largely of open field, has been determined yet.

“The land was fairly cheap,” Shane said, and “being adjacent to the 100-acre Town Forest, we said … maybe it would be good to connect the two.”

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

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.