NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectmen on Monday approved appointments for 22 residents on town committees, awarded two Highway Department purchases and chose a contractor to pave three roads.

The board appointed Beverly Cadigan, Jean Couturier and Kathleen Potter to the Capital Improvement Committee. John Randall and Nathaniel Berry were appointed to the Public Safety Committee.

Sean Chayer’s resignation from Regional School Unit 15’s Capital Improvement Committee was accepted with regret.

In addition, the board grappled with an agreement to sell a one-quarter-acre parcel in Lower Gloucester to a local businessman.

Sam Coggeshall of the Village Store is interested in owning the lot. The town gave him an easement to construct a septic system there in recent years. He hopes to use the lot for future parking.

The Village Store is on a neighboring 0.15-acre parcel.

The old schoolhouse lot in Lower Gloucester next to the Village Store sparked discussion about sight-distance safety for a future road entrance permit.

Despite the Maine Department of Transportation’s report that adequate sight-distance requirements were met at the hillside lot for an entrance to the lot, the board earlier this month hired Gorrill Palmer Consulting Engineers of Gray to conduct an independent assessment of the one-quarter-acre lot on Route 231.   The lot has not been maintained by the town and is overgrown with vegetation. 

Engineer William C. Haskell said in a report that the sight distance to the right is beyond requirements for right-turning vehicles, while the left exit distance is less than 250 feet. The report states that sight distance requirements between the proposed driveway and the store can be achieved if grass and weeds are kept as low as possible, potentially with weekly cutting and mowing. 

Furthermore, Haskell wrote, winter snowbanks might hamper sight distance, requiring removal of the snow between the Village Store and the driveway. 

Selectmen Steve Libby said the sight-distance approval by MDOT during the spring differed from the winter and summer conditions. 

“I can’t turn a blind eye and it’s a dangerous area,” he said.

However, Chairman of the Board Josh McHenry said the solution to make sight distance easier is fairly simple.  

“There is nothing in the report that is daunting in its recommendations,” he said. “It is not our role to enforce the entrance (if the lot is sold). “I haven’t seen the board go to the length as we have on this lot. The scenario seems strange to me.” 

The board grappled with terms in a prospective purchase and sales agreement with the Village Store and instead agreed to discuss the best way to craft a deed for the parcel with Maine Municipal Association. The board agreed to sell some town land to raise funds to replenish the land acquisition account for future purchases.

The overgrown lot is in the town’s historic district. Town Manager Paul First will seek guidance from Maine Municipal Association to help develop deed language to convey the historic lot. 

Freightliner of Maine got the contract to provide a cab and chassis for $94,811. Viking-Cives was awarded the contract for a dump body/plow gear for $74,466.

F.R. Carroll Inc. was awarded the paving contract for Cobbs Bridge Road, Sunset Shores Road and Snow Hill Road at a cost of $147,554.

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