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Council accepts D'Andrea's resignation

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Council accepts D'Andrea's resignation

SCARBOROUGH — The Wednesday Town Council agenda was comprised of items former councilor Karen D'Andrea admitted were not her passion.

But before public hearings on zoning changes in Pine Point and along Two Rod Road near Scottow Hill Road, councilors first accepted D'Andrea's resignation after almost four years of service.

D'Andrea announced her immediate resignation Tuesday, citing increased career demands and her inability to "maintain the high standards I set for myself as a public servant."

Her consulting business is expanding, and D'Andrea said it is her calling.

"My passion is there, not in zoning ordinances. I'm not saying those are unimportant, but my life's work has been with nonprofit organizations," she said.

A special election to fill the seat for the two remaining years on the term will be held as part of the Nov. 6 general elections.

Deputy Clerk and Registrar of Voters Carrie Noyes said nomination papers are available now at Town Hall and must be submitted by 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5.

Councilors did not vote on the zoning changes, and the Pine Point changes drew no public comment.

Town Planner Dan Bacon said the creation of a new zone, overlay district, and amendments to the existing B1 zone along Jones Creek Drive were the product of neighborhood meetings initiated almost a year ago.

"They will ensure Pine Point continues to be a mixed-use beachside community," he said.

The revisions were reviewed by the Planning Board Aug. 6, which gave them a favorable opinion. The exception came from Planning Board member John Chamberlain, who did not support rezoning the area on Two Rod Road from rural farming to an R2 designation.

The Pine Point revisions could also produce more environmental protection as any construction to replace current structures in the B1 zone will require larger buffer zones to the shoreline.

The council could make a second reading and vote on the zoning changes at its Sept. 5 meeting. Councilor Jessica Holbrook said she will seek an amendment so Grand Avenue business owner James Conroy will conform to zoning with his heating oil distribution company.

Councilors unanimously approved a three-year contract with fire department dispatchers. While capping educational reimbursements and shifting union members to a less expensive health insurance plan, the contract also calls for annual pay increases of 2 percent, 2.5 percent and 3 percent through June 30, 2015.

The town will also write off more than $27,000 in personal property taxes collected from businesses dating to 2006 because the money has been deemed uncollectible.

The finance committee of councilors Judith Roy and Holbrook and Council Chairman Ron Ahlquist have been looking to collect overdue taxes, and Roy said the write-offs are from businesses no longer operating.

Town Manager Tom Hall told the council about 98 percent of personal property taxes are collected annually, with more than $79,000 outstanding. Effort to collect them, including from businesses in bankruptcy proceedings, have reduced the total from more than $86,000.

First elected in 2008, D'Andrea was elected to a second term last fall. Outside the council, she is executive director for Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence and the state chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and has signed on new clients for her nonprofit consulting company.

D'Andrea served on the council Appointments and Fair Hearings committees and was chairwoman of the Ordinance Committee.

In her tenure on the Ordinance Committee, local regulations on the construction of wind turbines, operating pawnshops and the use of synthetic pesticides on municipal land were created.

Councilor Richard Sullivan's attempts this spring to amend the pesticide policy angered D'Andrea, she said.

"I did get emotional over the pesticide issue," she said. "It was something very near and dear to me. To me, it was a no-brainer. I was mad, I got up, I walked out."

D'Andrea said she could be firm in her beliefs, but meeting people and listening to their opinions and concers was what she enjoyed the most about being on the council.

"They cared enough to call and I cared enough to listen to them and help as best I could," she said. "The bond you create with the people in the community is amazing."

D'Andrea was also a founder of Scarborough Buy Local and said she will remain involved in the community.

"I'll be around, I'll be busy and I'll stir the pot once in a while," she said.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.