POLAND — News that Poland had been named Maine’s newest Certified Business-Friendly community was received by selectmen Tuesday with great pleasure.

“This is good news,” Selectman Steve Robinson said. “I am pleased the town has received this well-deserved business-friendly recognition. Our goal is to continue Poland’s growth and development for many years to come.”

The letter from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development cited five reasons for Poland’s selection:

* Significant infrastructure improvements.

* Strong collaboration with Oxford County Chamber of Commerce and the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce.

* A letter from Poland Spring Water Co. regarding the town’s quick and efficient assistance.

* Quick turnaround on licenses and permits.

* The Poland Economic Development Committee represents a positive utilization of Tax Increment Financing to support businesses as well as long-term community growth.

According to economic development consultant John Cleveland, Poland, which joins 24 other Maine communities in earning this status, was the only municipality to be certified as business-friendly in the latest round.

In other business, selectmen agreed to establish a nine-member committee charged with hiring a new town manager. Named to the committee, in addition to the five selectmen, were Town Clerk Judy Akers, Finance Director Cherie Sargent and community representatives Leo Ferland and Zakk Maher.

The committee’s goal is to hire a new town manager by Feb. 4, the date when the contract for Town Manager Rosemay Roy, now on paid leave of absence, expires.

Fire/Rescue Chief Mark Bosse is serving as acting town manager.

After meeting in executive session with the town attorney, selectmen offered a compromise settlement on a shoreland zoning ordinance violation to Middle Range Pond resident Ernest Ray.

Ray had appealed actions by the town’s code enforcement officer, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals, which held that Ray was in violation of the town’s ordinance by having an apartment over a garage on his property.

The board’s consent agreement offer would allow Ray to use the space over the garage as family space, with bedroom and bath, but he would have to remove the stove, and the property could not be used as a rental.

Ray said that when he built the space some 27 years ago, he intended it for family use only and that’s the way it has been used for 18 years. He said now he is retired and could use the rental income. He wanted selectmen to use their discretion to overrule the appeals board to allow him to do so.

“We can’t violate our own ordinance,” Robinson said. “From this point forward, you can’t rent the space.”

Ray, noting that he has received a great deal of public support for his cause, said he was prepared to take the town to court over the matter and asked that selectmen put their offer in writing.


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