MINOT – Road sign thieves have upped the ante, Road Manager Arlan Saunders told selectmen Monday night, with the theft of the stop sign at the intersection of Verrill and Pottle Hill roads.

Saunders, who has become all too accustomed to replacing road name signs, said the stop sign was replaced as soon as he learned it was missing. Saunders’ past complaints have focused on replacement costs – at least a $100 a sign, material and labor – and safety concern that emergency vehicles might be delayed due to lack of proper signage, but the stolen stop sign represented an escalation in potential consequences.

“Missing street signs are bad but stop signs … sooner or later something is going to happen,” said Saunders.

Saunders said when he spoke with state troopers about the missing stop sign, he was reminded that that “something” happened a few years ago in Florida when, after some teenagers stole a stop sign, a family was killed running the unmarked intersection.

Those thieves, Saunders noted, were tried as adults, convicted of manslaughter and are in prison today. Selectmen discussed setting up a program to issue rewards for information that leads to the conviction of the malefactors but took no formal action.

After reviewing a letter from the Maine Municipal Association, which concluded that town ordinances allow building permits to be issued on subdivision roads once the road has been judged to have been built to town standards, selectmen, with Steve French absent, unanimously voted to accept MMA’s interpretation of the ordinances.

For the past few years, the Planning Board and selectmen had interpreted the ordinance to require that the new subdivision road be accepted by the town, at the annual March town meeting, before building permits along the road can be issued.

Two months ago, Mike Gotto, engineer for developers Dan Carroll and Kurt Youland, challenged the interpretation and persuaded the Planning Board to take a second look at the ordinance. On review, the Planning Board agreed with Gotto’s reading and when the ordinances were sent for legal review, the town’s lawyers also agreed with the interpretation that allows building permits to be issued once the road has been built to town standards.

In other business, selectmen met with Hersey Hill Road resident George and Mary Buker who approached the board seeking a determination on the status of the Old County Road shown on maps as the Old Buckfield Road. The Bukers wanted to know whether the road was still a town way or whether the town considered it an abandoned road.

Selectmen told the Bukers that, while they spent considerable time the past two weeks researching the question, they were unable to give a firm answer at this time.

Selectmen, after reviewing an inter-local agreement between the towns of Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland for sharing the costs of a planned new central office for Union 29 personnel in Poland, the board found several elements in the agreement troubling. The board agreed to set up a workshop with the School Committee on May 19 to discuss the matter.

The board met with John Grenier of the Maine Cycling Club to discuss plans for the third annual Lake Auburn bicycle road race. The race follows an 11-mile loop that winds to West Auburn and Minot and is scheduled to run on June 5.

After discussion of past issues, the board gave permission to hold the race on Minot roads.

Town Administrator Gregory Gill told the board that Code Enforcement Officer Ken Pratt has informed eight property owners that it appears their properties come under the ordinance’s definition of a junk yard. Gill said Pratt will be visiting the eight locations on May 14 to issue a formal citation provided what he observed earlier has not been corrected.


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