Yarmouth Council approves Madeline Point funding

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YARMOUTH — The Town Council voted 6-1 to appropriate $173,000 to begin improvements at Madeline Point.

Of the $173,000 to complete the first two phases, $143,000 will come from the Harbor and Waterfront reserve fund and $30,000 from surplus. At a council meeting on Monday night, Town Manager Nat Tupper said construction will not begin until after Labor Day.

The first phase of the project will be to organize the current parking spaces, develop erosion control, create a vehicle turn-around area, construct outdoor restrooms, and organize the space for better use and access.

After those improvements are complete, the pier, gangway, ramp and float system can be built to provide deep-water access to people with moorings, a place to store dinghies off the beach, and increased use of the waterfront for swimming, fishing and recreational activities.

Engineer Barney Baker, of Baker Design Consultants, Inc., said the gangway and floats are expected to last 40 to 50 years, and will be stored at the Town Landing each winter at a cost of about $500 to $1,000 each year. He said if up to $3,000 is put aside every year, a replacement system could be funded by the time it was needed.

Resident Paul Knoll of Cousins Island, said road improvements need to be made on Cousins Island before any money is spent to improve Madeline Point.

“It seems like you are addressing the needs of 50 to 100 people,” he said. “When our island is eroding, this project seems ill-timed.”

But everyone except for Councilor Erv Bickford were in favor of moving the project forward.

Council Chairman Mark Hough said the upgrades to Madeline Point will provide a “stimulus” for businesses in town, and Councilor Tom Renehan said the improvements were “a long time coming.”

Bickford agreed that sidewalks need to be improved along Cousins Road, and said erosion on the beaches of the island were in need of repair. He called the situation “quite critical.”

In conjunction with the Madeline Point improvements, councilors voted 7-0 to begin a shared dinghy program at Little John to help alleviate boat congestion. Instead of waiting for the construction at Madeline Point to be completed, Tupper said it would be wise to start the shared dingy program to see how it works. He said the more information that can be gathered before next summer would be helpful.

In addition, councilors approved a small wind energy ordinance for residential or small business use 5-2. Councilor Bickford voted against the ordinance because he was “concerned with the height requirements.” Councilor William Schaffer said he took into consideration Bickford’s concerns and they made sense.

“I had no solution for the height requirement concern, and that became a yellow light for me,” he said.

The ordinance allows small wind energy systems in all zoning districts except the Resource Protection District, and all three Village Districts. In addition, a sunset provision was added, stating that the ordinance will expire and be repealed on Aug. 1, 2010 unless the Town Council revises or repeals the clause.

Councilors tabled two agenda items; a public hearing to act upon a request from the Lions Club for roadside signs, and the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement with the Maine Association of Police and Dispatchers Union.

The next council workshop will be Thursday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Log Cabin on Main Street.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net