May 24, 2019

Shoreland zoning revisions urged Frye Cove marina plan abandoned

DEXTER – Although a local businessman abandoned his plan to purchase town-owned property in Frye Cove for a small marina, there was plenty of concern expressed Thursday about the proposal.

Steve Wintle, president of the Dexter Lake Association, and Wayne Clukey of the Dexter Utility District urged the Town Council on Thursday to protect Lake Wassookeag – the town’s drinking water source – from such development. On behalf of their organizations, both men recommended that the council revise the shoreland zoning ordinance to prohibit marina development and to control the invasion of aquatic plants.

Wintle presented the council with a petition signed by 217 people who urged the council to preserve the lake’s water quality by rejecting the sale of the property in Frye Cove to Stanley Russell. He also asked the council to take emergency action to amend the shoreland zoning ordinance to remove the planning board’s authority to approve applications for marinas in the districts of stream protection, limited residential, general development and limited commercial.

Clukey said the utility district supported the lake association’s position. He presented a letter from Dexter Utility District trustees that stated a marina in Frye Cove would be a “completely unacceptable risk to our water supply. As far as marina development, we think it’s a step in the wrong direction,” he said.

Both the petition and the statements from Wintle and Clukey came after Town Manager Robert Simpson announced that Stanley Russell, earlier that day, had withdrawn his request to buy the property.

Russell initially asked to purchase all of the Frye Cove property but modified his proposal to a portion of the shorefront after opposition was expressed by fishermen, who used the popular fishing spot off Route 23.

Town officials were told Thursday that it was unlikely that the town could have sold the property in the first place, because there is some question now about its ownership. Department of Transportation officials, who learned of Russell’s interest in the property, claimed that the state owns most of it and they have no intention of selling it, Simpson said. The DOT advised him that the state needs to reserve at least 100 feet of the shorefront for line-of-sight.

Rather than initiate an emergency ordinance as requested by Wintle, the council directed Simpson to request that the planning board fully review the town’s shoreland zoning ordinance as it pertains to marinas and other commercial activities and to report on any needed revisions in the document.

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