Freeport cemetery seeks waiver of town fee

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FREEPORT — The Town Council will review a request by the caretaker of a family cemetery to have a road impact fee of almost $5,000 waived for a driveway project.

The council Tuesday night agreed to include the matter on an upcoming agenda. 

Ken Mann’s request came on the same night that Town Clerk Christine Wolfe reviewed new voting district boundaries. A May 16 public hearing will be scheduled on the change, which evens out the number of registered voters in each of the town’s four districts.

Mann said he learned of the $4,800 fee Tuesday morning, just hours ahead of the council meeting. He said the fee should not have been levied because the proposed gravel driveway does not affect town roadways or land near the private cemetery.

It’s been a long-term process to build the gravel cemetery, he said, adding, “The costs keep going up and up, and the impact fee was the last straw.” 

Mann said the topic never came up during planning for the gravel driveway, which would be 10 feet wide and 1,240 feet long. 

The old cemetery on private property is maintained through donations and charitable contributions. It receives no money from the town. Burials began at least as early the 1750s, Mann said, and the last took place in the 1920s or 1930s. The cemetery may be the burial site, though, of earlier settlers, dating to pre-colonial times, according to Mann. Veterans also are interred in the cemetery.  

More than 180 graves have been recorded at the cemetery, which is off Lower Flying Point Road, near Marietta Lane.

This is not the first time the Mann Cemetery has had issues with the town.

In 2016, Mann Cemetery trustees, including Ken Mann, locked horns with planners of the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Center over access to the cemetery. A solution was eventually worked out between the company and cemetery trustees.

An impact fee typically is charged by the town if road construction and road setback work is required.

“We don’t believe we should have to pay that fee for no impact at all,” Mann said Tuesday.

Voting districts

The Town Charter requires review of voting districts every five years to ensure equal representation by the council in the four districts. The 2016 presidential election saw a spike in voter registration, Wolfe said.

Proposed changes keep some districts with the same number of registered voters.

Under Wolfe’s proposal, District 1 registrations would remain unchanged from November 2016 at 1,778 voters; District 2 would be reduced from 1,898 to 1,776 voters; District 3 would increase from 1,702 to 1,779, and District 4 would grow from 1,734 to 1,782. 

Requested changes to the voting district maps call for entire streets to be in one district.

“That is important for maintaining the Central Voter Registration software and to eliminate errors that happen when registering voters that live on split streets,” Wolfe said in a memo to councilors. 

Another benefit to updating the voter registration districts involves emergency responders.

“In taking our time to do this project carefully and correctly, we now have maps to use for the next five years that will ensure that new 911 addresses are given the correct District assignments,” Wolfe noted.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

Freeport resident Ken Mann asks the Town Council Tuesday, April 25, to review a road impact fee for a gravel driveway project at the private Mann Cemetery.

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