Falmouth considers Route 1 parking, hunting changes, fines for dog owners

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FALMOUTH — Changes may be coming to the Route 1 business corridor when the Maine Department of Transportation begins repaving the area next year.

Changes to the parks and public lands rules are also on the way. Dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs may get slapped with fines, and hunting on some public lands may be restricted.

The Town Council voted unanimously Monday to issue a request for proposals for a landscape architect and structural engineer to help design infrastructure improvements, with a goal of seeking construction bids in 2012.

The town has asked MDOT to consider allowing on-street parking in some areas between Route 88 and the Maine Turnpike connector.

“MDOT is willing to consider it,” said Theo Holtwijk, Falmouth’s director of long-range planning. “This is strictly evaluating, is it feasible, is it desirable to have on-street parking?”

MDOT is scheduled to pave the area next year and the town is attempting to align any changes in the corridor with the repaving plans.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said the engineering would be paid for by the town’s tax increment financing district, which puts money aside from taxes paid by businesses in the district to pay for capital improvement projects.

“It’s a good bang for your buck when you establish a TIF district,” Poore said.

The council also reviewed some proposed changes to the rules for use of the town’s parks and public lands.

If the changes are accepted as currently written, dog owners who do not clean up after their animals on any public lands will be fined $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and $250 for a third offense.

The changes also require dogs to be leashed on public lands from April 1 to Sept. 30 to avoid disturbing wildlife.

“We also identified that service dogs may accompany people with disabilities even when dogs aren’t allowed,” Poore said.

Poore said he is not recommending dogs be barred from any town property, but that now is the time to discuss that if anyone wants to propose a ban.

The new rules would also prohibit hunting with a firearm on three town properties: Walton Park on Allen Avenue Extension, Town Forest near Winn Road and Pleasant Hill Preserve.

The proposal would allow bow hunting in Town Forest.

Poore said the additional restrictions came from an analysis of the area and the town’s rule that all hunting be at least 500 feet from a residence.

The new rules would ban all ATVs, dirt bikes and other motorized off-road vehicles from all public parks and lands.

The rules will be formally introduced at a future council meeting, and will then go through a three-step adoption process, including a first reading, public hearing and second reading, before adoption.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.

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