MRRA board members confirmed, Brunswick base bill moving forward

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BRUNSWICK — Two members of the redevelopment authority at Brunswick Landing were confirmed by a legislative committee last week, while a bill charging local police with enforcing traffic laws on military bases was unanimously approved by committee and forwarded to the full Legislature.

John Moncure of Harpswell, current chairman of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, was confirmed to continue as a member of the entity charged with redeveloping the former naval air station.

Former Downeast Energy chairman John Peters, also of Harpswell, was also confirmed to succeed departing vice chairman Don Hudson.

Both were nominated by Gov. Paul LePage.

Moncure, an attorney with Topsham law firm Moncure and Barnicle, “has been there from the very beginning of MRRA, so obviously that’s important from the governor’s perspective,” said Steve Levesque, MRRA’s executive director.

“He has done a terrific job (on the board) and has understood the complexities of transferring military properties,” said Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick.

Of Peters, Gerzofsky said, “He’s a Mainer and has had extensive involvement in the local community and the state. He has a proven track record at developing jobs and creating business at Downeast Energy.”

Also this week, legislation sponsored by Gerzofsky charging local police with enforcing traffic laws at Brunswick Landing and Loring Commerce Center (the former Loring Air Force Base) – and other properties owned by any “quasi-municipal corporation or district” – was unanimously approved by committee, Gerzofsky said.

Brunswick police already patrol Brunswick Landing, but are unable to enforce speeding and other traffic violations, Brunswick Police Chief Richard Rizzo said.

Should the bill become law, the state would have to set the speed limits at Brunswick Landing before police could enforce them, but Rizzo said doing so would make the area safer.

Gerzofsky said officials are worried about liability as more and more people access the former military base.

Also, he said, “The town of Brunswick is receiving property taxes from the (former) base – $450,000 the first year – and somebody’s got to enforce the laws. Also, it will help integrate the base back into the community. We don’t want the base to be a separate entity.”