NEW GLOUCESTER — Location, location, location.

The proposed new public works garage has hit a roadblock as two selectboard members doubled down on their objections to the planned location of the facility.

The disagreement looks to have derailed a special town meeting set for Sept. 18.

The selectboard held a vote last week to approve the warrant for the special town meeting, which would have given voters a chance to weigh in on the proposal to build a $4.6 million facility at 611 Lewiston Road, where the fire station is also located.

However, one selectboard member was absent for the vote, and the remaining four deadlocked 2-2 on whether to approve the warrant. As a result, one board member walked out of the meeting early in apparent disgust. Several other members say the garage proposal is now “dead in the water” for the time being.

The two selectboard members who voted in favor of the warrant are Chairwoman Linda Chase and Steven Libby.

“I think it is our job at this point, it has gone through a two-year process. The Board of Selectmen has endorsed and approved the site for the public works building to go at 611 Lewiston Road, and this is a continuation of prior votes,” Libby said before the vote. “The final step is to put it to the voters. And it would be almost an overstep for us to deny the voters the right to vote on this after it’s gone through such a lengthy process.”

The votes against the location were cast by Joseph Davis and Stephen Hathorne, who had both previously supported a new facility in general, but had raised concerns about the proposed location. Both have suggested the location of the current public works garage at 1036 Lewiston Road would be a better site for the new facility.

“It will be no surprise that I am absolutely 100 percent in favor of a new town garage building. I do have great concern about the location. I don’t think this is the proper location,” Hathorne said before the vote. “I will be voting no on this warrant, and I will not have tainted water or blood on my hands, and I will not sign the warrant.”

Hathorne’s comments reflect concerns he has raised in the past about what he sees as potential traffic and water safety issues if the garage were to be moved to the 611 Lewiston site.

Davis, who has also expressed concerns about the proposed location, added he has additional concerns about the details in the warrant, including what would happen to the overall cost of the project if voters didn’t approve municipal Tax Increment Financing to help offset the cost of the project.

The 611 Lewiston site scored the highest at 47 in an analysis of the top three sites identified by the public works garage design committee. According to the analysis conducted by engineering and planning firm Oak Point Associates of Biddeford, the current location of the public works garage scored the second-highest at 33.

A clearly displeased Libby left after the failed warrant vote, despite several other items still on the agenda.

“Motion fails, we don’t sign the warrant. Good show, guys. Good show,” said Libby sarcastically as he got up from his chair.

“Real professional,” he added as he walked away from the dais.

Libby served as a selectboard liaison on the garage design plan committee, which was formed in 2015 to guide the site planning and design for a replacement building. Davis has also served as a liaison on the committee.

While Chase and Hathorne found themselves on opposite sides of the vote, they used almost the exact same language to describe the proposal’s status after the failed vote.

“Technically, it’s kind of dead in the water unless Mr. Davis or Mr. Hathorne reconsider their vote,” Chase said in a phone interview.

Chase said if either were willing, the selectboard could hold another meeting to change the vote. But if not, the board would likely have to provide some sort of direction to the public works garage design plan committee to revisit their work.

“Right now, it’s dead in the water,” Hathorne said in a separate phone interview. “I assume it would have to go back to committee.”

Chase said while she was “not surprised” by the vote, she was “very disappointed.”

She said the fifth member of the selectboard, Lenora Conger, was absent due to a death in her family. Chase said she assumed that Conger “would have voted to send (the proposal) to the voters,” but that she wasn’t completely sure on that point.

If Conger had been present and voted yes, the warrants would have gone before residents Sept. 18.

“It really shouldn’t have mattered. It should have gone to the voters,” Chase said. “I’m disappointed that the voters won’t have their say.”

Chase hopes the proposal will be “brought back,” but added she wasn’t sure what it might look like.

“We need a town garage,” Chase added. “It’s just a matter of where it goes.”

Hathorne reiterated in the interview that he is “100 percent behind the building” but “location is everything.”

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