Scarborough delays Avenue 2 decision, names Donovan chairman

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SCARBOROUGH — The Town Council again tabled a decision on whether to discontinue Avenue 2, which provides beach access at Pine Point.

Also Wednesday, Councilor Bill Donovan was elected chairman for the coming year.

At issue in the Avenue 2 debate is a unilateral decision by the board of the Gables by the Sea condominium association to include new conditions in the easement for the beach trail.

Councilors and Pine Point residents objected to the new language, which limit the hours of access, stipulate that no drug or alcohol consumption would be allowed, and ban camping and fires.

There was concern among councilors that the language could lead to private enforcement.

The attorney for the Gables, Charles Katz-Leavy, said his clients have “no interest in blocking public access or to change the historic public use, but wanted basic protections that are commonplace.”

However, he also said that the Gables is not “looking to be obstructionist.”

That pleased Donovan, who said, “My No. 1 goal is to continue public access with very little change.”

He also agreed with his fellow councilors that any decision on discontinuing Avenue 2 should be tabled until more discussion takes place.

Councilors Peter Hayes and Katy Foley continued to argue that the town should not discontinue Avenue 2 and should retain ownership of the pathway.

Hayes also said, “I feel really uneasy about this wrinkle at the last hour (and) feel it’s a last-minute attempt to restrict access.”

He also said he would be “nervous” about giving legal powers to the Gables, even though the association has no intention of being the enforcing authority.

The parties were asked to go back and renegotiate the terms of the easement and report back to the council at its Jan. 17, 2018, meeting.

Newly elected Scarborough Town Council Chairman Bill Donovan, left, with Town Manager Tom Hall at the Dec. 6 meeting.