Alna selectmen

Baston suggests mediation in Spinney appeal; Alna preps for elections

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 7:15am

    Professional mediation could “reduce the heat” on a shoreland proposal and the town’s response, Second Selectman Doug Baston said Oct. 21. He suggested the parties try it, as Maine law allows after a town’s appeals board has ruled, he explained. If mediation fails, a court appeal could still go on, Baston said. “I don’t see any downside.”

    Reached via text after selectmen’s Zoom meeting, applicant turned appellant Jeff Spinney said he was sure he and his lawyer Kristin Collins will investigate mediation.

    The planning board rejected Spinney’s proposed ramp work on the Sheepscot River off Golden Ridge Road. And Oct. 16, the town’s appeals board upheld that decision. Spinney and Collins planned a Superior Court appeal. Proposing mediation, Baston said if it resolved the matter, that would save everyone “more costs and agony.”

    Also Oct. 21, selectmen returned a longtime planning board member to that panel. Beth Whitney will fill the seat another longtime member, Tom Albee, is leaving. Selectmen named Willard Morgan and Joel Verney planning board alternates. Third Selectman Greg Shute abstained from the vote on Morgan because Shute works at Chewonki Foundation where Morgan is president.

    Town Clerk Sheila McCarty noted an armored box for completed absentee ballots is now chained outside the town office. “It is a highly secure box. We can use it in the future for many elections,” and the Secretary of State’s Office is covering 80% of the cost so it does not need to come out of the town’s $5,000 Center for Tech and Civic Life, safe elections grant, she said.

    Baston agreed the box is secure. “I banged it around. Nobody’s going to get anything out of there easily.” 

    “Thank you for being vigilant, Sheila, in getting that,” First Selectman Melissa Spinney said.

    McCarty has also gotten an ultraviolet light for use on pens, ballot envelopes, counters and other surfaces; and she said the town is continuing to get personal protective equipment, including some from the state, which is also providing two plexiglass shields to protect election workers and voters at the voter check-in and ballot box.

    Noah Yoder will be done by the end of November building a shed for residents to take sand from, Baston said. The town is paying Yoder, of Whitefield, $1,850, Selectman Spinney said.