The Sanford City Council met via Zoom on May 17, 2022. All members were present. The meeting had originally been planned to be held in person, but the lack of air conditioning and ventilation in the Council Chambers resulted in the change to remote. The Council Chambers are on the third floor of City Hall, and the room has no windows. The cooling tower is awaiting replacement, which is expected to be done before the next meeting.
Mayor’s Report / Subcommittee Reports
Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio reported on the Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee meeting from last week. See that story. She invited all residents to attend the Memorial Day ceremonies at the Southern Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Springvale on May 30. See this story for the schedule of events.
Councilor Ayn Hanselmann reported on the Public Safety Subcommittee meeting. See that story.
Councilor Bob Stackpole reported on the Solid Waste Subcommittee meeting, which included an update on the voluntary curbside composting program. The City has been approved for the grant that will offset much of the cost for the first year. There will be more information on this when it is ready to roll out.
He also reported on the Zoning Subcommittee meeting, which had an update from Planning Director Beth Della Valle. The Planning Department is overwhelmed with work due to being shorthanded for almost a year. The City Council had approved funds for a consultant to do some of the work on the Comprehensive Plan Update, which is overdue, but the consultants are also shorthanded and overwhelmed, so little progress has been made.
City Clerk Sue Cote said absentee voting is being held on floor 2R of City Hall, and there are signs to direct you to the right place.
City Manager’s Report
CGA Solar: City Manager Steve Buck said the final phase of remediation on the CGA site on New Dam Rd. is being undertaken next week, with revegetation. Once that is done the site will be turned over to Walden Renewables which will install a solar energy facility. See this story for more info.
Mineral Extraction Task Force: The Task Force will review the full draft of the proposed Mineral Extraction ordinance at its next meeting on May 24, following which it will be submitted to the City Council for review. It will also go to the Planning Board before being returned to the Council for approval.
Charter Review: The Charter Review Committee has completed its initial review of the City Charter, and will begin its final review on May 23. The biggest changes are to Article VI, which deals with the budget. The chapter of definitions is also being significantly updated. A public hearing on proposed changes to the Charter has been scheduled for June 6, but that date may change.
Rumble Strips: The Maine Department of Transportation has developed a new design for rumble strips, in response to many complaints by homeowners on the noise they cause. The new design has less depth and a smaller diameter. The new rumble strips will be installed on Route 4 between North Berwick and Sanford.
Communications / Presentations
Survey Results: Communications Coordinator Jordan Wilson gave a presentation on the results of the “In The Know” community info survey. 411 responses were received. She broke down the responses by age group. Most respondents prefer to get their info from the City’s Facebook page, or “The Happening” Facebook page, rather than by other methods. She will have information soon about how residents can sign up for emails and text messages through the City’s new website, which is still in development.
Candidates for City Council: Mayor Mastraccio said all three candidates were invited to make presentations at the meeting, but Michael Termath could not attend and Dennis Woodruff declined. Nathan Hitchcock gave a five-minute presentation on his background and qualifications. He is a member of the Sanford Mainers Board of Directors and is a Trustee of the Sanford Sewerage District. Mayor Mastraccio said the invitation to speak will be extended to all three candidates at the June 7 meeting as well.
Public Participation: Springvale resident Dianne Connolly complained about the odor of marijuana coming from a business at 9 Renaissance Way. Code Enforcement Officer Jamie Cole said this is the first complaint he has had about that property, and will address it with the owner. He said the owners of all the marijuana businesses in town have been very cooperative with resolving any issues.
Ms. Connolly also asked when the debris at 199 Jagger Mill Rd., where the old mill collapsed and was demolished, will be removed.
Jim Deyermond, Chair of the Sanford Republican Committee, questioned why Mr. Hitchcock is being invited to speak again on June 7. “Why does he get two bites at the apple?” he asked. Mayor Mastraccio responded that the other two had the opportunity to be there that evening. She said the fairest way to present the candidates was to have them all speak at the same time. Mr. Deyermond tried to argue his point. Mayor Mastraccio said the Council could overrule her decision if they chose. Councilor Stackpole responded, “They should be happy they get a second chance. He got to speak tonight because he showed up.” No other Council member expressed an opinion.
Consent Agenda: Four Tier 1 Marijuana Establishment licenses were renewed, and two new ones issued, without objection. Mr. Cole noted that one of the new licenses was for an existing business, but the ownership of the building had changed.
Technical Manual: Public Works Director Matt Hill made a short presentation on the City’s new Technical Manual, which provides modern and consistent standards to the building of infrastructure within the public right-of-way and on public property, compiled into one easy-to-use document. Councilor Hanselmann noted that she heard someone define business friendly as predictability. “This helps us become more predictable,” she said. The Council voted to acknowledge the Technical Manual, but not to adopt it, which would have made it technically an ordinance. Mr. Hill and his staff were thanked for their efforts putting the Manual together.
Planning and Development Commission: The Council voted to reappoint Ms. Della Valle to the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission’s General Assembly. Ian Houseal, the City’s Community Development Director, was appointed to fill the seat formerly held by Mr. Buck. The incoming Director of the Growth Council will fill the third seat.
Trails Committee: The Council voted with regret to accept Robert Mongue’s resignation from the Trails Committee.
Board of Assessment Review: Steve Cabana, Emily Sheffield and Aimee Garneau were appointed to fill empty seats on the Board of Assessment Review. There is still one vacant position. The terms are three years.
Presidential Lane Extension: The Council voted to approve the scope of work for Phase 2 of the Presidential Lane extension at the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport. The project includes trenching and back fill for 850′ of natural gas main, extending and stabilizing drainage and swales, layout and installation of 850′ of a 12″ gravel roadbed for vehicle access to all existing hangars, and loaming and seeding. The total contract with Jamco for this phase has been negotiated to $281,148, which is mostly being paid through the solar TIF district.
Animal Shelter Agreements: The Council voted to approve an agreement between the Police Department and Pope Memorial Humane Society of Cocheco Valley, to take stray dogs. In a separate item, the Council voted to approve a 48 hour shelter agreement with Another Chance Animal Rescue to take stray cats. Police Chief Craig Andersen explained that switching to Pope and ACAR from the Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk will save the City tens of thousands of dollars a year.
Tax Acquired Property: The Council voted to receive from the City Treasurer the following five tax acquired properties due to the nonpayment of 2019/2020 real estate tax liens.
- 2 Oscar Ave. – This home, on the corner of Dorrington Ave., was occupied until recently, and the owner has gone into medical care. Mr. Buck said this property is “in a state of extreme disarray” and will have to be dealt with after acquisition.
- Stevens St. – a half-acre wetland wooded parcel at the end of the road abutting the City’s landfill property
- 33 Island Ave. – on the corner of Thompson St. The house on this vacant lot was demolished in 2017.
- 22 North Ave. – a small house lot at the corner of Thompson St., the home was demolished in 2019.
- A 2.5 acre property with no road frontage, the address is listed as New Dam Rd., but is actually closer to Cyro Rd., off of the CMP right of way and along the Mousam River. Mr. Buck said this parcel contains environmentally sensitive wetland that could be used for mitigation purposes in the future.
Tax Commitment: The Council voted to set the due dates for the 2022 real estate and personal property tax commitment as follows: first installment due by September 15, 2022 and second installment due by March 15, 2023 with a delinquent interest rate of 4.00% as determined by the State Treasurer. Interest will begin to accrue on the first installment on September 16, 2022 and on the second installment on March 16, 2023.
York St. Vehicles: The Council voted to approve the removal of four cars and a motor home from a property at 8 York St., which has been found by the courts to be operating an unlicensed junkyard. The property will be taxed to cover the cost. A police officer will be present when the vehicles are removed.
Boiler House: The Council voted to approve legal action against the owner of the International Woolen Co. boiler house, which was declared a dangerous building by the Council in January. This allows the City to recover fines and fees associated with abating the nuisance and danger posed by the building.
Councilor Hanselmann said over 800 votes have been received in the Friends of Downtown’s Best of Sanford/Springvale (BOSS) Awards. If you would like to vote, visit the Friends Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Friendsofdowntownsanford. Paper forms are also available at Frannie’s Mini Donuts.
Councilor Stackpole expressed his concerns about partisan politics affecting the City Council and School Committee. He said right now the City is in a good place with Council members and School Committee members who all get along, but warned that “the good times are not going to last forever.” He is concerned about people getting elected who are more concerned with partisan politics than with what is best for Sanford, and that a vocal minority from either side of the political spectrum could “hijack the process.”
Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy praised the work of the Sanford Water District and Public Works Department on the Westside Village reconstruction. She reminded everyone that the Sanford Mainers season starts June 7.
Mayor Mastraccio reported the passings of Ray Charpentier and Steve Kumka, both well-known in the community. Their obituaries can be found at https://www.blackfuneralhomes.com/.
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