Town Meeting Warrant
As always, the Town Warrant has many varied questions, in an effort to provide as much information as possible to the voter we have included some questions that we have received regarding some of the Warrant Articles. This list may grow as we receive more questions. As always if you have questions, please ask by calling the town office or emailing the Town Clerk or the Town Manager.
Article 35. Shall the Town vote to adopt an ordinance entitled “Disorderly Property Ordinance” to regulate properties harboring occupants who disturb the peace and tranquility of their neighbors be enacted? Please click here for a copy of the ordinance.
What would this ordinance do?
This ordinance is not a property maintenance ordinance, but is an ordinance that would address properties in Town that have repeated complaints from neighbors, and are having a negative impact on the neighborhood. A property to be classified as a disorderly property would have 2 or more documented and substantiated disorderly events occurring on the property within one-hundred eighty (180) days. These events could be drug or alcohol related events, fighting, disorderly persons, and in some cases noise that violates the noise ordinance. This ordinance will be used as a tool to help address neighborhoods suffering from repeated issues, and to reduce excessive use of emergency services responding to these recurring events.
Article 36. Shall the Town vote to adopt an ordinance entitled "Town of Waldoboro Medical Marijuana Licensing Ordinance", which establishes standards and procedures for medical marijuana caregivers and was approved by the Select Board on April 12, 2022, be enacted? Please click here for a copy of this ordinance.
What would this ordinance do?
This ordinance establishes a formalized process for registered caregivers to receive municipal authorization. Registered caregivers are allowed in the Town of Waldoboro, as required by the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act, however, Waldoboro is allowed to establish a process and have stronger language compared to the State statute. This ordinance also creates local standards to prevent new caregiver establishments near churches, schools, daycares, and areas used for public recreation. This ordinance would ensure the Town of Waldoboro has standards in place in the event the State of Maine amends the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act on matters such as odors, definitions of "Registered Caregivers", or to close potential future loopholes. This ordinance would take effect on April 12, 2022 the date it was approved by the Select Board.
Article 37. Shall the Town vote to amend the Shellfish Management Ordinance to include penalties for harvesting shellfish without a license and failure to stop for an inspection by a municipal shellfish conservation warden? Please click here for a copy of this ordinance.
Why is this Ordinance being amended?
These amendments to the Shellfish Ordinance were unanimously requested and approved by the Shellfish Committee. What these amendments would provide are penalties for individuals who harvest shellfish without a Waldoboro Commercial Harvester License. Why is this so important? The clamming industry in Waldoboro is one of the most lucrative soft shell clam landings in the state of Maine. The efforts of the Shellfish Committee relating to the health and sustainability of the Medomak River are important to our shellfish harvesters and all who enjoy the Medomak. Protecting the health and the quality of the Medomak clams is vital to the licensed harvesters. The number of shellfish licenses is limited to ensure the sustainability of the fishery. Another amendment to the ordinance requires anyone harvesting shellfish to stop for an inspection by the Shellfish Conservation Warden if requested, it also provides for penalties for the failure to stop and penalties for assaulting a warden. These amendments are needed to ensure that the soft shell clamming industry in Waldoboro continues to thrive.
Article 49. Shall the Town approve the creation of up to 36 units of affordable senior housing on the site of the former A.D. Gray School and authorize the Select Board to convey the A.D. Gray School property (Map U-4, Lot 63) to Volunteers of America for $1.00 and on such other terms and conditions that the Select Board deems to be in the best interest of the Town, including the probable demolition of the school building?
Why is A.D. Gray on the warrant again, didn't we just vote on this last year?
Although the voter's approved this project last year, it was understood that that the A.D. Gray building would be rehabilitated and the facade would appear the same. Since then Volunteers of America's engineer and architect have surveyed the building and determined the brick facade is not attached to the buildings framing, and noted other deficiencies that make the rehabilitation of the school for VOA's project too costly financially. A copy of the engineering report can be found by clicking here. The VOA is now proposing to demolish the building at the VOA's expense in order to construct up to 36 units of affordable senior housing. The Select Board wants the voters to confirm the vote in support of the project with the knowledge that the building will most likely be demolished. The future of A.D. Gray has long been a topic, and demolition of the building has been discussed many times, that discussion is now more of a reality. The Town did apply for grant funding to demolish the building, but was not successful. In an effort to make sure there were no other developers with a plan to develop A.D. Gray and keep the building, the Town issued a public Request for Proposals in November and no proposals for the A.D. Gray School were received. Volunteers of America have continued to express interest in development of this project and submitted a letter stating their continued commitment to Waldoboro (click here for a copy of the letter). Their vision now is to construct a building reminiscent of the A.D. Gray School, incorporating some elements of the original design of the school in the new design.
Article 50. Shall the Town authorize the Select Board to purchase the property located at 877 Main Street, Map U-4, Lot 17 known as the Wooster Parking Lot from the Estate of Elizabeth Wooster upon such price, terms and conditions as they deem advisable, and appropriate no more than $75,000 from the undesignated reserve for the purchase of said property and related transaction costs. The funds from the undesignated reserve to be paid back by the Tax Increment Financing Fund Program over 10 years?
Why does the Town need the parking lot?
The Town of Waldoboro has been discussing the purchase of the Wooster Parking Lot (parking lot behind Community Pharmacy) since 2010 during the development of the Downtown Master Plan. It was the vision of both Ted and Betsy Wooster to have the lot become Town owned and part of the downtown's economic redevelopment. In the spring of 2020 the Town began working with the University of Maine on a Capstone project for their students to design enhancements to the parking lot, with Betsy's blessing of the Town's intention to purchase the parking lot. The final UMO plan was presented to the Select Board on July 13, 2021. Please click here for a copy of the report. A video of the Capstone presentation can be found by clicking here. It had been the intent since the fall of 2021, to place an article on the June 14, 2022 Warrant to authorize the purchase of the parking lot. Due to the death of both Ted and Betsy, the property was listed on the open real estate market, the Town is hopeful that the Wooster estate will give consideration for the Town to purchase the parking lot. The funds for this purchase would be taken from the undesignated reserve fund, and repaid to the fund out of the proceeds from the new Tax Increment Financing Fund over a period of 10 years. What is a Tax Increment Financing Fund or TIFF? A Tax Increment Financing District (TIFF) takes 2% of the value of improvements made to Waldoboro properties located within the TIFF district and places it in a designated fund that is geared specifically towards economic development projects. The TIFF funds are sheltered from the Town's valuation for county taxes, education subsidies, and revenue sharing. The Waldoboro First TIFF District was approved by the Town in June 2019, and was authorized by the State of Maine in March 2020.
Article 51. Shall the Town authorize the sale of the Friendship Street School (129 Friendship Street, Map U-3, Lot 13) for the highest bona fide offer on the open real estate market and on such other terms and conditions that the Select Board deems to be in the best interest of the Town?
This Article was amended at the Select Board meeting on 5/10/2022 due to the receipt of 5 bona fide offers on the Friendship Street School. The Select Board authorized the Town Manager to execute a purchase and sale agreement with the highest bidder.
In the event that there is not a bona fide offer accepted for the Friendship Street School on the open market.
Shall the Town then authorize the Select Board to enter into negotiations with the developer, Ronald Phillips the only respondent to a Request for Proposal for development of Friendship Street School, to develop 5 residential market rate units in the Friendship Street School on such terms and conditions that the Select Board deems to be in the best interest of the Town?
Why did Head Start Leave?
The heating system at Friendship Street School is significantly outdated, and could no longer operate, and needed replacement. The Town received quotes to replace the system and began the process of replacing the boiler in the Spring of 2021. As the beginning of the school year approached. The Town was informed of excessive delivery delays for the new system that could stretch into winter, the Town reached out to Head Start to keep them in the loop. After some conversation together with Head Start's recent evaluation of the location, it was determined that a termination of the lease was the best course. The heating system was just one factor leading to this decision. Other issues include the cost of improvements to the upper floors to be usable by Head Start. The Town of Waldoboro has had a wonderful, long-lasting relationship with this invaluable service provider and hopes to continue this relationship into the future.
Why are we only now hearing about this project?
Click here for a copy of the proposal.
The Town Select Board has discussed this matter since the Fall of 2021 when the lease with Head Start was terminated. The Select Board discussed two options, the first was to craft a Request for Proposal so that the Town could guide what use would convey with the building. The second option was to place the school for sale on the open market. Consideration was given to both scenarios. The Select Board decided to issue an RFP and were hopeful that developers would submit varied responses, and that given the current market prices offers would be close to market rate. In the event that the proposals were not in the best interest of the Town the property could then be listed on the open real estate market. The RFP was release in early November 2021 and were due back in late January 2022. The Town received one proposal from developer, Ronald Phillips of Waldoboro.
The first meeting where this proposal was discussed was on February 8, 2022, the item appeared on the agenda and was to be discussed in open session. At the request of the developer, Ronald Phillips the discussion was held in executive session due to information which Mr. Phillips considered sensitive. As the Town has done in the past with potential developers it was recommended that a pre-application be presented at a Planning Board meeting, ensuring public notice and abutter notification. You can review a copy of the proposal by clicking here.
A pre-application was presented in front of the Planning Board on March 3, 2022. The Planning Board meeting was the first opportunity to receive public comment on the project. The Lincoln County News reported on the meeting, leading to more public input from neighbors and residents. There have been no commitments, no agreements, no guarantees, and no motions made on this proposal by any involved parties.
Is the Town selling this property for $1?
The Town has not and is not selling the parcel for $1. The Select Board has always been keenly aware of the existing real estate market conditions and the intent has been to market accordingly whether through an RFP process or the open real estate market. The proposal that was submitted by Ronald Phillips was the only proposal the Town received after a three-month Request for Proposal period that stretched from November 2021 to January 2022. The developer has stated that the $1 was a placeholder and was subject to negotiation. Any final agreement must go before the residents of Waldoboro for a formal vote, which the Select Board would do during a regularly scheduled Town Meeting/Election (June or November).
In conjunction with the RFP a real estate broker was contacted to determine the potential market value of the property. Based on the information provided by the real estate professional a realistic listing value of the property was provided to the Select Board, and in turn that information was provided to Mr. Phillips to give him an idea of what the Select Board was expecting to receive for the property. Mr. Phillips reiterated that there is more than monetary value to the building, and that his proposal would ensure the historic preservation of the property and provide continued public access to the river front property. Mr. Phillips has submitted a letter to the Town stating his continued interest in the project but will await to see the results of the marketing of the property on the open real estate market.
Is there a conflict of interest because a Select Board member is involved with the proposed project?
Select Board member Bob Butler has publicly acknowledged he has a conflict of interest in this project. Mr. Butler has recused himself from all Select Board meetings on this topic, and has recused himself in all discussions, communication, and other related matters unless asked to attend as a member of the development team. The Town Office, Town Manager, and Select Board understand how sensitive this matter is, and great care has been taken to ensure that Mr. Butler is recused from all matters relating to the Friendship Street School discussion.
What is the Town asking the voters?
On April 26, 2022, the Select Board voted to list the Friendship Street School with the real estate agency RE/MAX Jaret & Cohn of Waldoboro. The property will be placed on the open real estate market. The Town will entertain all bona fide offers but has the right to reject offers they feel are not in the best interest of the Town.
The Select Board authorized the Town Manager to execute a purchase and sale agreement to this highest offer on the open real estate market for the Friendship Street School at their meeting on 5/10/2022. This Article gives the authority for the sale to proceed.
Article 49 is a two-part question. First, it asks you the voter if you will approve the sale of Friendship Street School to the highest bona fide offer on terms and conditions that the Select Board determines to be in the best interest of the Town. If the Town receives and accepts an offer before June 14th the Town will make that offer public as soon as possible.
The second part asks the Town that in the event there is no accepted bona fide offer, will you the voters authorize the Select Board to enter negotiations with developer Ronald Phillips based on his submitted proposal. Although, the Select Board may negotiate, the authorization for the sale of the property would be placed in this case on the November, 2022 warrant for voter consideration.