Mark Beauregard

On November 14th the Dallas Plantation Assessors hosted a Regional Municipalities Meeting at their town office meeting hall.  Sandy River Plantation, the Town of Rangeley and Rangeley Plantation were invited to share information and discuss common ground issues.  There were no representatives from Rangeley Plantation in attendance.
Ben Godsoe and Audie Arbo from the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) provided an update on LUPC activities.  The LUPC is conducting a twenty-year review of their 2001 Prospective Zoning Plan (PZP) for the Rangeley Lakes Region.
An initial finding is that residential development is the primary growth in the area but that it is less than the amount forecast in the Plan.  The Plantations are experiencing the majority of the growth which is what the Plan tried to achieve.  The Plantations have more management infrastructure to deal with growth than the unorganized towns in the area.
The local Assessors provided input citing a lack of enforcement of existing rules and the need for better communications from the Commission.  Audie Arbo responded that the LUPC is in the process of creating an enforcement unit and planning to increase its staff presence in the community.  She stated that priorities in an enforcement work plan will include wastewater issues, junkyards, campers without septic and short-term rentals.  The LUPC is hoping to have their Wilton office, which serves the Rangeley Region, fully staffed within a few months.
The Commission plans to review all of the feedback they have gathered and make recommendations for adjustments to the zoning plan in December.
Jim Quimby, Saddleback’s General Manager, provided an update on the ski area’s activities.  He chronicled the addition of the high-speed chairlift, the upgrades to the base lodge, the doubling of snowmaking on half the trails, the new T-bar and many other improvements since the re-opening.  Jim also noted that paving on the access road has been completed and that the solar array is approaching fifty percent completion and will be operational in time for next season.  The mid mountain lodge is tight to the weather but will not be fully operational this winter.  Employee housing is expected to be completed next summer.
Work on Saddleback’s Master Plan is in progress.  The Plan will not include more than what is contained in the already approved Plan.  Work will focus on setting priorities and establishing a timeline.
Saddleback’s Tom Federle indicated that they need to work on creating better dialogue with local towns.  The dedicated effort to make improvements at the mountain resulted in a less than ideal level of communication between Saddleback and its neighbors.  Tom hopes to provide more information and create more goodwill going forward.
Dallas Plantation Assessor Linda Jones indicated that the availability of high-speed internet for the region is getting closer to becoming a reality. Consolidated Communications/Fidium Fiber is planning to issue a press release in the near future to provide more details and a timeline of work.
Other Dallas Plantation Assessors reported hearing from their constituents on several issues.  Primary concerns were about speeding vehicles on local roads, snowmobile and ATV use of public roads and building and development activity.  The Assessors reported that ditching and paving on the Dallas Hill Road will be completed next spring.
The Sandy River Plantation Assessors inquired about the status of Rangeley’s septic fields.  Rangeley Town Manager Joe Roach informed them that Rangeley no longer has a license for septic sludge spreading.  Septic sludge now has to be trucked to the Anson/Madison Wastewater Facility which has resulted in a substantial cost increase for local septic tank pumping.  The Town of Rangeley is making provisions to allow the local septic pumping service to place large FRAC tanks for temporary storage of septic sludge at its wastewater facility.  These larger, transportable tanks will result in fewer trips to the Anson/Madison facility and hopefully will stabilize or lower the cost of disposal.
The Rangeley Selectmen and Town Manager provided information on Town activities.  The updates included the completion of the Loon Lake Road Project, proposed improvements to the Depot Street parking area, stump disposal at the Transfer Station and the revised Zoning Ordinance for next June’s Town meeting.
During the discussions that ensued the Plantations expressed interest in learning more about Rangeley’s progress on some common ground issues.  The issues involving affordable housing, short term rentals and the unapproved use of recreational vehicles were of particular concern.  The Rangeley Selectmen willingly agreed to cooperatively work with the Plantations and share any approved or draft ordinances with them.
The next Regional Municipalities Meeting has not been scheduled yet.

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