Notification failure stops work on Pleasant Drive

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MINOT – Selectmen directed Road Manager Arlan Saunders to place a stop-work order on the construction of Pleasant Drive.

Saunders told selectmen Monday night that, earlier in the day, developer Gary McFarland called him saying that his contractor, Mike Rowe, was starting work on the road this week.

Saunders said he had a chance to drive by Pleasant Drive, which will serve McFarland’s recently approved subdivision off Brighton Hill Road, and found Rowe already at work, in clear violation of several stipulations in the town’s street requirements ordinance.

Selectmen agreed and voted the stop-work order based on the fact that the developer had failed to give the town a five-day written notice before beginning construction and had failed to give the town a deposit fee of 2 percent of the estimated cost to construct the road, so the town could hire a project inspector.

Contacted Tuesday night, Saunders said he was aware that McFarland had talked with town administrator Rhonda Irish, and he believed all the issues had been resolved. The stop-work order, however, would continue for the five days, equaling the five-day notice required by the town, he said.

Selectmen noted that McFarland worked with the town’s planning board and the Maine DEP for about two years before the project was approved and should be well aware of the town’s basic road requirements and concluded that if he finds himself in a bind, so be it.

“A prudent businessperson would have gotten a copy of the ordinance. He has no sympathy from me,” Selectman Ralph Gilpatrick said.

At a get-acquainted meeting with Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins, Selectman Steve French told the newly-elected sheriff that townspeople are quite happy with the emergency dispatch service his office is providing and are not looking forward to a consolidation of services whereby dispatch for Lewiston and Auburn will combine with the sheriff’s office to create one brand new center for the entire county.

The cost for Minot, French noted, could go from about $2,000 per year to $16,000 and, while that’s about what Minot was paying when the town did its own dispatching, the increase won’t go down well at town meeting.

Desjardins pointed out that growth pressure and the need for equipment upgrade will eventually mean cost increases and thus consolidation may be the way to save money in the long run.

In other business, selectmen awarded the 2007 Arthur Harris Scholarship to Kelli O’Connor who is currently attending Elmira College.

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