CANTON — Selectmen on Thursday night held their last meeting in the Town Office at 9 Staples Hill Road. 

The building will be closed Saturday, April 11, so that its contents can be moved into the new Town Office in the new building next to the fire station on Route 108 at 94 Turner St. It will open for business on Monday, April 13.

The board discussed local businessman and Selectman Malcolm Ray’s proposed revival of the downtown by constructing three buildings between Whitney Brook and Main Street (Route 140). He also wants to rebuild the retaining wall on the left side of his current building, Administrator Scotty Kilbreth said.

Kilbreth said it’s a general development area that has a 25-foot setback from the brook. He said Ray has proposed to improve and build atop old foundations already in place. The third building, he said, would be erected where Kilbreth’s father’s building was. Ray wants to use it for an ice cream shop. The other buildings would have small businesses in them.

Kilbreth said the Planning Board recently denied approving a building permit for the project, because it didn’t meet a setback requirement.

“There are setback issues in one place at the L-shaped building,” Selectman Brian Keene said.

Ray, who was out of the country, has appealed the Planning Board decision to selectmen, who are also the town’s Board of Appeals. He must also go through the state process to get approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Keene said Ray needs a variance on the setback issue and another one for setback issues between the brook and the road on the east side of a building. He said his current building is 8 feet from the brook.

Kilbreth said that if selectmen can work out the variances, “Canton will have its downtown back.

“Mac said it will look very similar to what it looked like in the 1930s,” he said.

“I looked at it and I had no issues with it,” Hutchins said. “He wants to get this going this spring and he has to work with DEP. I don’t want to hold him up. He’s not making it different from the buildings like it was (in the 1930s).”

Kilbreth said in viewing Ray’s preliminary plan, Ray estimated the project would cost $350,000. Keene said the new buildings would be tied into the town’s sewer and water lines.

Selectmen then scheduled a special board meeting for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in the new town office to work out the variances.

“It will be nice to have something downtown again,” resident Barbara Groleau said.

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