News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, August 30, 2018
Rental registrations exceed expectations

by Sharon Bray

Town officials said they have been surprised by the number of rental listing forms turned in at the town office since the registration ordinance went into effect this summer. At the town-gown meeting on August 22, Town Manager Jimmy Goodson announced receipt of 138 forms.

Selectman Peter Vogell said he didn’t know the town had that many rental properties. Each form represents one property regardless of the number of tenants, including short-term seasonal visitors.

“I’d say 84 rent to students,” Goodson said, based on information registrants voluntarily included on forms. Town officers also compare information to lists provided by Maine Maritime Academy that do not include names.

The registration process also provides property owners with fire safety information.

MMA President Bill Brennan said 273 first-year year students are enrolled to start classes next week with a total of 991 students expected, though a few may yet drop out.

Homecoming celebration is scheduled for September 30, according to Vice President for Student Affairs Liz True.

Goodson thanked MMA for its welcome email to students that includes emphasis on obeying vehicle speed and noise laws. Brennan read parts of the letter that would be of interest to the wider community.

Dean of Students Deidra Davis had written: “Our Honor Code applies at all locations of the Academy and its activities, including both within and beyond the campus.…

“For clarity, this also includes, but is not limited to, conduct that occurs in Castine, neighboring towns and at private student off-campus housing locations.”

The email added, “Castine is a small community with residents that live, drive, walk, run and ride bikes on the same roads as our students. Please watch your speed, obey all traffic signs …. Unfortunately, in past years, the peace and safety of our neighbors in town has been threatened by the unsafe driving habits of a few of our students.”

Goodson told Brennan that the citizen group meeting in Orland to address safety concerns on the Castine Road did not single out academy students as causing concern. A very small number of students have been problem speeders, Goodson added.

Brennan said he is glad first-year students are not allowed to have vehicles on campus.

The town will soon set up radar signs along Battle Avenue and other heavily used streets to record speeds and travel times, moving the signs periodically, according to Goodson. Some town officials expressed concern that the signs might be stolen as they have been in the past.

Selectman Colin Powell is looking into improved internet speed through broadband services. Castine will talk to neighboring communities about possible cooperation. The academy already has adequate service Brennan commented.