NEWRY — Selectmen learned nothing’s ever simple in Newry nowadays Tuesday night from Administrator Loretta Powers.

A contractor hired to do chimney work last week at the Bear River Grange Hall, which was built in 1916, discovered that the chimney has no flue.

Powers said nobody knows when the chimney was built, but it can only have a 6-inch diameter flue for the passage of smoke and fumes. However, the hall’s furnace requires an 8-inch diameter flue, she said.

If the contractor has to install an 8-inch flue, he would have to build a new chimney, she said.

Additionally, Selectman Gary Wight said that whoever built the chimney left some bricks sticking out of it, which must be fixed as well.

Powers said the furnace is “so old that we’re looking at getting a new furnace.”


Eventually, the board decided to have someone skilled in chimneys and furnaces look into the issues to help determine whether they should replace the furnace or have the chimney rebuilt and an 8-inch flue installed.

In other business, the board learned that the Rhino Seal company will crack-seal pavement in the Grange hall parking lot, which hasn’t been sealed since 2010, and on Sunday River Road. The cost is $5,829, board Chairwoman Wendy Hanscom said.

Selectmen decided to have the contractor do both jobs. They also decided to place planned tree-trimming work on hold.

“If this tree trimming becomes a big deal, we can call a special town meeting or there is $2,000 in the selectmen’s contingency fund and we can slide it over,” Hanscom said.

Powers said should the board decide to have trees trimmed along roads, the first priority should be by Monkeybrook Road headed toward the Artist’s Covered Bridge on Sunday River Road.

“We’ve got to fix that before it becomes a nightmare,” Powers said.


The board also learned that resident Jim Sysko will look into setting up a Withdrawal Committee and head it to start the withdrawal process from SAD 44.

Hanscom said SAD 44 Superintendent David Murphy has agreed to meet with selectmen to share information at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29, in the Grange hall.

In Planning Board matters, Powers told the board that the attorney for Sunday River Ski Resort contacted Newry’s attorney because he was concerned that the board is requiring the resort to have road frontage for a new subdivision it is planning.

Additionally, the resort attorney said four Planning Board members should recuse themselves from hearing the project because they have a financial interest in it, namely, time shares, she said. However, if they did that, Powers said the board wouldn’t have a quorum to decide the matter.

“Their only gain is if the value of their unit goes up with this project, or down,” Planning Board member Doug Webster said.

“When you have a lot, it’s supposed to have road frontage,” Powers said.


Selectman Brooks Morton, who used to serve on the Planning Board, didn’t like learning about the resort attorney’s action.

“It seems like he jumped the gun by bypassing the Planning Board and going right to the town’s attorney,” Morton said. “That isn’t going to set right.”

Hanscom said selectmen could ask the Planning Board to increase the number of its members to handle the project should members have to recuse themselves. But Morton said he didn’t think selectmen could interfere because the Planning Board is “pretty much independent.”

“If we need to look into it further, we will,” Hanscom said. “Never a dull moment.”

Morton advised Powers that should Newry get billed for the attorneys’ conversation, they should send it to the resort to pay it.

“They bypassed the Planning Board process altogether and legally, that might not be allowed,” he said.

Powers said she would check with the Maine Municipal Association.

The Planning Board will visit the resort’s Mountainside Homes Subdivision project on Wednesday, May 21. They’ll meet at 5:30 p.m. at the end of Mountain View Road, and at 6 p.m. at the Grand Summit main entrance parking lot. The Planning Board meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Town Office.

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