Barking-dog ordinance hearing generates changes

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FARMINGTON — Although only a handful of people turned out Tuesday for the second public hearing on proposed changes to the barking-dog ordinance, their comments and questions prompted some changes to the document before voters discuss it at the March 20 annual town meeting.

Concerns centered on definitions, legal terms and the ability to mediate if one party declines to do so.

The proposed ordinance was suggested after Whittier Road neighbors have made several complaints against the owner of 20 sled dogs, who, they say, disrupts the quality of their lives. They were looking for help for the situation through town ordinances but the animal control ordinance does not address barking dogs.

Town Attorney Frank Underkuffler, who has reviewed the proposed document, attended the hearing and answered questions while explaining the difficulties of pursuing a dog case through the court system.

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Voters will make a decision on it at the annual town meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 20, at the Community Center.

In other business, the board approved spending $300 to have the Front Street parking lot appraised by Michael Cook.

Former Farmington Construction owner and the lot owner, Greg Roux, who would like to break a 99-year lease with the town on the property, has agreed to split the appraisal cost and also pay $300, said Town Manager Richard Davis.

Roux asked the board to consider terminating the lease based on its terms not being met. Farmington Construction was charged real estate property taxes although according to lease terms there wouldn’t be any, which in his opinion breaks the lease.

The town has refunded taxes paid, Davis told the board.

Roux told the board last month that he was open to creating a one-year renewable lease and giving the town first refusal on purchase of the property if he chose to sell.

The Board agreed to pursue options including asking an appraiser to determine a fair price for the property.

The board also approved a request to allow business-sponsored signs at Philbrick Field in Farmington Falls.

The Farmington Falls Fire Company requested posting business signs around the field similar to the signs posted at Hippach Field with the funds used to make improvements and for field maintenance, Davis said.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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