Alna looks into possible 'encroachment' near post office, Village School at Puddledock

Posted:  Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 8:45am

Alna officials are checking into recent digging near or on two old Alna properties. The post office and the town-owned Village School at Puddledock, once a school and later the town office, sit at the corner of Dock Road and Route 194. Before selectmen met April 11, Third Selectman Doug Baston and resident Ralph Hilton took some rough measurements showing the digging was partly onto the town lot, Baston said at the board meeting.

"There is an encroachment," Baston said. 

Then and in an interview later, Baston explained he was talking about a portion of the parking lot at the former school. He didn’t know what the excavation was for. The last permit taken out on the post office site dated to 2001 by Joseph Russell, for a holding tank, Baston said. Beverly Russell of Augusta owns the property, town officials said.

Selectmen said a resident contacted the town about what appeared to be new excavation. The board, down to two after Second Selectman Melissa Spinney’s election to first selectman, decided to have Code Enforcement Officer Tom McKenzie look into the matter.

Reached by phone after the meeting, Russell’s husband Joseph Russell said the couple leases three properties to the U.S. Postal Service for post offices,  Alna’s and ones in Coopers Mills and South  Gardiner. He said there are few small town post offices left and he and his wife have liked helping to keep them going. The recent digging at the one in Alna was a trench to drain away an abundance of water, he said. A well, used when the lot had a home and a barn, recently began overflowing so much, the water got into the holding tank installed when that permit was issued, he said.

Russell said they have had to have the water pumped out multiple times this year, costing hundreds of dollars.  The contractor on the trench will return to redo the driveway area leading to the school building, he said. When a parking lot in front of the school was paved years ago, that included part of  the post office property but the couple didn’t say anything because they were trying to be good neighbors, he said. The recent trench work did not encroach on the school lot, he said. The only thing that would have gone onto government land would have been the well water traveling the trench to the ditch near the road, he said.

Russell added he would rather not put up a fence because he wants people to still be able to reach the town property from theirs. The town is welcome to talk to them or the contractor on the trench, he said.

Also April 10, selectmen agreed Spinney’s name will go on the town’s next tax anticipation note (TAN) from Bath Savings, amount and rate still to come; named Jeff Spinney and Taylor McGraw planning board alternates; apologized again for the town report’s listing of some property taxpayers as delinquent who were not and said they plan to buy announcements about it in local newspapers; and heard Terry Ross’s idea to move the Alna Meetinghouse to the town office property, make it the town office and turn the cape into the post office. He also had suggestions he said would benefit Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum and aid the fire department on parking. 

Selectmen told Ross to talk with the museum and return with a project cost, and the board will find out if moving the meetinghouse is legal. It is a registered historic place and it’s fragile, Baston told him. Voters last month decided to sell the cape and get a modular town office.

Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12 will present its proposed budget at the fire station at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, Town Clerk Liz Brown said. The district’s budget meeting is May 17.

Selectmen meet again at 6 p.m. April 25 at the town office.