SUMNER — While selectmen didn’t grant a mobile home park owner’s request for the planning board chair to recuse himself from the issue for a potential conflict of interest, the parties reached a tentative agreement regarding a driveway issue.

Butterfield Estates LLC owner Cliff McNeil was in attendance at Tuesday’s Sumner selectmen’s meeting. The issue that’s been ongoing for roughly five months involves a driveway that directly enters onto Route 140 instead of a mobile park home, which town officials say is in violation of the town’s amended subdivision ordinance that was approved at town meeting in August 2015.

McNeil asked selectmen to have planning board Chairman Andy Wickson abstain from the decision-making process regarding his subdivision because Wickson lives across the street from the mobile park home, calling it “a direct conflict of interest.”

“I don’t think a neighbor against a neighbor is a good thing. I think we’ve tried it for five months and it hasn’t worked,” McNeil said. “He has the greatest intentions for the town. I believe in his mind he thinks he’s doing what is right.”

Selectmen Chairman Wally Litchfield said because Wickson wasn’t a direct abutter, he didn’t feel it was a conflict of interest.

“You have your side of the story and we have our thoughts and I guess they don’t coincide,” he said to McNeil.

Selectmen also reviewed a letter from John Maloney, senior planner for the Androscoggin Valley Council of Government, to Code Enforcement Officer Sid Abbot on the issue.

“I think from my reading of it looks like Mr. Maloney kind of has the same view point the board has in regards to the driveway in question,” Litchfield said. Selectman Kelly Stewart agreed.

McNeil indicated he could compromise.

“I am willing to agree to pull the pad that’s over there and use McNeil Road, and use the driveway specifically for the pump house access for the infrastructure … for the septic and water,” he said.

“You are open and agreeable to having that access designated for pump house support? Was that not one of the options we have been discussing or am I on a different planet? … If we are able to grant you that, would that be acceptable to you?” Stewart asked McNeil.

He said it would be as long as he had support from the selectboard and planning board for using the driveway for that purpose.

Wickson was also at the meeting and answered Stewart’s question that McNeil’s new plan would require a subdivision amendment, which would have to come before the planning board.

“It’s changing the whole dynamics of the subdivision. … We would work with him on what has to be done there to make sure it doesn’t get used as a private drive … so it doesn’t conflict with the new ordinance,” Wickson said. “If we can come to some agreement on whether [the pump house is] gated, I don’t see it having any problems passing the planning board.”

He recommended McNeil update his Mylar to show the most recent subdivision layout and said a public hearing would have to be held. McNeil agreed to come in for the next planning board meeting, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the town office.

In other news, selectmen:

  • held off on signing a contract with the town of Buckfield for rescue coverage because there were wrong dates on the document.
  • voted to investigate hiring an alternate code enforcement officer on an hourly rate to be paid out of the CEO’s stipend to mitigate conflicts of interest.
  • directed Secretary Sondra Bragg to do research about what surrounding towns do for Workfare requirements.

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