Meeting set for trailer park vote in Sumner

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SUMNER – A special town meeting will be held May 9 at the town office so residents can vote on the Planning Board’s approval of a site plan for a mobile home park expansion that has been met with opposition.

Selectmen’s Chairman Tom Standard said Wednesday the Planning Board approved a site plan review application filed by Selectman Clifford S. McNeil, who wants to add two mobile homes on the 15 acres he owns on McNeil Road off Route 140. There are already three mobile homes there.

The Planning Board is expected to approve the site plan before the May 9 town meeting, when residents can approve or reject the board’s approval.

A rejection could essentially cancel the park’s expansion, but state law would likely override a town vote, said Standard. “State law is very clear that we can’t stop trailer parks,” he said. “But there seems to be a feeling (among some residents) that we don’t want big brother telling us what to do.”

McNeil, who has been a selectman for about eight years, approached the Planning Board in December about an expansion and filed a site-plan review application. He has said he wants to initially add two homes, but he may add up to 20 over the next decade.

A public hearing was held Tuesday with 22 people in attendance, several of whom voiced opposition to a mobile home park but said they were at least satisfied that McNeil is the owner. “If we had to have one, we think Cliff will do as good a job as anybody. He is trying to do a good job,” Standard said.

McNeil was not available for comment Wednesday.

Some residents are concerned that McNeil will sell the property in the future, although McNeil has said he has no intentions of doing so. “He could sell the trailer park and then whoever bought it might put in a whole bunch of $200 junky trailers, and we would have no control over that,” Standard said.

He added if the Planning Board’s approval is rejected, it could mean a costly lawsuit for the town. “Cliff could sue us for illegally stopping his trailer park. He has mentioned in meetings that he could sue over this issue,” he said. “If we have any chance of winning, then I favor rejecting the thing. If we had to go to court, it would cost us a lot of money and I don’t want to go to court unless I have a reasonable expectation of winning.”

Standard said he will research state law covering mobile home parks and contact the Maine Municipal Association for advice.


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