News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 9, 2013
Affordable housing change eyed for Castine town meeting warrant
Someone’s dog causing consternation

by Sharon Bray

After Selectmen Peter Vogell and Gus Basile completed routine work at their meeting May 6 (Dave Unger absent), comments from the public raised a point of greater interest.

Despite several citizens insistence that putting the problem in the paper would not help, their concerns apparently had not been addressed adequately in the past.

Discussion started with Gil Tenney noting that “summer people may not be aware” of the town’s rules concerning control of dogs. Although the town does not have a so-called “leash law,” Tenney said owners are required to keep animals under voice control when out in public.

The real problem turned out to be “year-round dogs,” according to others at the meeting.

Several people reported having “talked to Henry” (Erhard, animal control officer). Finance Officer Karen Motycka said she would do so again. She added that Erhard had been unable to catch the reportedly friendly dog.

“Dale (Abernethy, town manager) needs to follow up with Henry,” Motycka concluded.

On another dog issue, Basile commented, “The cemetery is a mess. People are not picking up after dogs.”

Affordable Housing could make town meeting warrant

With town meeting approaching June 1, Doug Koos asked if a planning board item could make the deadline to be on the warrant for voters. He said a zoning change issue probably would be decided at the board’s May 9 meeting.

Koos has been working with the planning board on a change that would allow him to put 16 rental units on four and a half acres that are part of his mobile home park property. The change would exclude apartment rentals. Koos has been working with engineers, state and local officials on a proposed project for many months. A percentage of the housing units would be designated as “affordable” for lower income renters.

Abernethy said he had consulted the town’s attorney on the format of the proposed change. Further changes to content would not require additional legal review, Abernethy said, as long as the format remains the same.

If selectmen at their May 20 meeting approve the planning board’s recommendation, said Motycka, the item could be placed on the town meeting warrant.

Selectmen plan to hold an informational discussion of the proposed budget and other town meeting issues at a public session May 28 at 7 p.m.

In other business

The selectmen approved an amusement license for the Castine Inn; gave permission for Witherle Memorial Library to apply for a grant to expand outreach to rural parts of town; and certified a proposed zoning ordinance and map for the town meeting vote.

Ruth Basile sought and was granted permission to hold a rededication of Emerson Hall Saturday, June 22. Renovations to the town hall should be complete by that date, she said.

Selectmen congratulated Motycka on being certified by a state agency of tax collectors and treasurers.

The next two meetings of the Board of Selectmen were scheduled for Monday, May 20 and June 3, at 4 p.m.