Edgecomb resident has message for Route 27 truckers

Fri, 05/17/2024 - 8:45am

Carol Leone has had it with the loud, “jackhammering” sound of “Jake brakes.” She has listened for years to noise created by large trucks when they are braking, as they travel at high speeds and attempt to manage the road’s challenging bends and curves.

After nearly three decades, the noise is now louder and occurs more frequently. During the May 14 selectmen’s meeting, Leone announced her plans to remedy the situation. She explained how her calls to Maine Department of Transportation seeking a reduced Route 27 speed limit were unsuccessful. So, Leone moved to Plan B: a sign with the words “No Engine Brakes.”

She has four signs and requested permission to place them on Route 27. Selectmen unanimously approved her request. “It has gotten so bad with so many more trucks. I’ve seen other places with signs like this, so I thought I’d give it a try,” she said.

In recent years, Leone has researched how other communities such as Brewer, Ogunquit, Houlton and Hampden have handled the issue with some communities adopting the signs.

She discovered “Jake Brake” is a registered trademark of Jacobs Vehicle SystemsTM. The term is “sometimes incorrectly used to refer to compression release type engine brakes,” according to a 2008 passage in a Maine Townsman article she found. Leone discovered under federal regulations these large trucks leave dealerships with a federally regulated decibel level of less than 80.

She believes the loud noise is caused by modifications to the exhaust system. “I think it’s done to reduce truck maintenance and those trucks are likely the biggest offenders,” she said. Selectmen wished her luck with her project.

In other action, Code Enforcement Officer and Licensed Plumbing Inspector George Chase presented his resignation. He was appointed in 2022 and won election to the school committee later that spring as a write-in candidate. Chase resigned from both positions to run for an open selectman’s seat. On May 17, Chase and Timothy Harrington are vying for the three-year selectmen’s term. 

Selectmen tried to convince Chase to delay his resignation to see if he wins the election. Chase was tempted, but ultimately decided he needed to resign due to several current commitments. “I’ve enjoyed being the CEO for Edgecomb,” he said. “I like being involved with all of you, and the town. It’s been great, but I’m already stretched pretty thin.” Chase committed to working with his replacement during a transitionary period.

Smith announced he would meet with Edgecomb Eddy sixth graders on Friday morning, May 17 at town hall cemetery to place American flags on veterans’ graves. This is a project he has led for the past seven years. “It’s also a day of our municipal elections. I will have Claudia (Coffin, town clerk) talk about elections with the students. Afterward, we will serve some Popsicles then go out and place flags on veterans’ graves,” he said. 

Selectman Michael Maxim announced an internet speed test sponsored by Maine Connectivity Authority. He encouraged Edgecomb residents to take it. “We don’t need all the residents, but as many as possible to take the test,” Maxim said. “This is to show the area is underserved in broadband so the MCA can secure grant monies.” The test deadline is May 21 and residents can access the test at maineconnectivity.org

Selectmen unanimously approved a Class 1-A liquor license renewal for BMS Management Inc. for Water’s Edge Restaurant and Bar on Route One. The license covers a downstairs bar and upstairs deck. Smith reported the property is for sale, but will be open this summer. 

The chairman also reported a problem with the fire station’s front side garage doors. An engineering company reported one set of doors had rotten headers. This led to a conversation about which party is responsible for repairs. Smith reported the fire station is 12 years old, and the state has a 15-year liability for product failure. “One door is rotted so we’re wondering about the other four. Who is going to pay for the repairs?”

If the town ends up paying for repairs, Smith recommended using Tax Increment Financing funds. The town is also close to selling a parcel of tax-acquired property to the owner of Royal River Co. which owns property on Route One near the Atlantic Avenue tax-acquired parcel. “We’ve reached an agreement with the Royal River owner. All he needs to do is come to the town hall and pay.”

According to Smith, back taxes total around $1,400 for a property of less than one acre. 

Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 28 in the town hall.