‘Time to get tough’: Wiscasset to ask lawyer to ‘find something’ re: Wawenock issue

Thu, 04/04/2024 - 8:45am

Airing his frustration April 2 with waiting for Wawenock LLC to finish repairs after hundreds of bricks fell from its downtown, 1800s building in 2021, Wiscasset Town Manager Dennis Simmons said he will ask town counsel to “find something” for him to propose selectmen pursue. The discussion came after Chair Sarah Whitfield read off Wawenock’s latest message to the town, stating repairs are anticipated to be largely completed before June 1, and scaffolding and fencing to be removed sometime in June. Simmons said he replied there has been no visible progress.

“Guys, I think it’s time to get tough with this,” Simmons told the board. 

“By doing what, though,” Whitfield asked.

“They’ve dragged this out and they’ve dragged this out ... I think I would call the (town) attorney and say, ‘Find something.’ I don’t care if it’s a fine for littering, for putting the things on the sidewalk. We need to find something,” Simmons said. “I am so frustrated with this, as is everybody else in this room. This is ridiculous.”

Selectman Pamela Dunning said Wawenock did not ask permission to set up the staging three years ago. “Would we allow any other business to set something out on our public sidewalk without charging them rent for the space?”

Simmons said he did not relish the thought of legal fees, “but” – and then he shrugged – “my patience with (Wawenock) is gone.” Fielding board questions, he said he did not need a vote to contact town counsel; however, selectmen did voice support. 

“Go for it,” Selectman Terry Heller said. “Appreciate it,” Dunning told Simmons. “Obviously we’re just going to keep getting the same letter over and over, ad nauseam,” she said.

Reached for comment April 3, Wawenock spokesman Mark Robinson said the selectboard can discuss whatever it likes.

Also April 2, responding to questions from the ordinance review committee, selectmen said the area being eyed for a possible firearms discharge ban is Pottle Cove from Castle Tucker to the yacht club, within the railroad tracks, and that the board is not looking to propose regulating hunting, because towns cannot regulate hunting.

Selectmen reappointed Debra Pooler to the planning board; nodded a liquor license renewal for Maine Tasting Center, and a special amusement permit for Bath Ale Works for live music with one to two musicians five to six times a year and an open mic night twice monthly; accepted with regret and thanks, Stephen Graffam’s resignation from the comprehensive plan committee and Tom Joyce’s from the budget committee and planning board; and approved pier vendor permits, as the waterfront committee recommended, for The River Shack, The Sicilian Farmer, The Potter’s Shed, Industrial ME, LLC, and Sprague’s Lobster.