Harpswell selectmen OK expansion of Mitchell Field panel

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HARPSWELL — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved expansion of the Mitchell Field Committee from nine to 13 members, in order to update the field’s 10-year-old master plan.

The board Oct. 26 also forwarded to the Planning Board a resident’s request to open an ice cream business on Harpswell Neck Road.

A memo to the Board of Selectmen notes that since the master plan’s adoption in 2007, “decisions and events have shaped the current status and use of the field, sometimes in piecemeal fashion.”

The document adds that the update will allow decisions made the past decade to be incorporated, along with adding new areas of concern and interest, such as natural resources and invasive plant issues, waterfront vision, and possible open field uses.

The Mitchell Field Committee expects the update to be ready for consideration at Town Meeting in 2019. In the meantime, additional members would be recruited, and the first phase of the project – a review of the current status of policies and plans governing the field – completed by Jan. 15, 2018.

Phase II will implement the Phase I work plan, and an update on that and draft master plan recommendations are to be complete by Sept. 30, 2018. Public forums to review the recommendations are to be done by the end of next year, with a final recommendation submitted to the Board of Selectmen on Jan. 15, 2019.

Ice cream

Meanwhile, resident Pamela Douglas would like to open an ice cream business on a vacant town-owned parcel between the entrance to Mitchell Field and the Harpswell Neck Fire Department.

In an Oct. 12 letter to the town, the Harpswell native described her 28 years of waitressing at Cook’s Lobster House on Bailey Island, work providing care for the elderly, and 35 years owning and operating Pam’s Wreaths in town.

“My dream is to establish an ice cream business here in Harpswell,” she wrote. “To be successful, I need the right location.”

Douglas would like to open Mother’s Day weekend next year, and close for the season Columbus Day weekend.

The Board of Selectmen granted Douglas permission to proceed to the Planning Board for site plan review, which could occur Nov. 15. Douglas would have to enter into a lease agreement with the town, and the Board of Selectmen can only authorize one-year lease agreements, Town Administrator Kristi Eiane said in an interview Oct. 27.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. 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.