When Harpswell’s traditional in-person town meeting returns on March 11 after a three-year absence during the COVID-19 pandemic, voters will have 67 matters to decide.
The question of whether to buy back the Harpswell Coastal Academy campus may be the most high-profile item on the agenda, but it also contains three amendments to town ordinances and the $6.94 million municipal budget.
An amendment to the Harbor and Waterfront Ordinance would relax rules put in place last year to govern mooring inspections.
At present, mooring owners must “provide evidence of inspection and/or an affidavit” that says they have inspected the mooring and found it in “safe and operable condition.”
The change would allow “proof of current vessel insurance” or “a mooring safety certification form” instead of an affidavit.
An amendment to the Shellfish Ordinance would broaden a provision that allows resident commercial shellfish harvesters who move out of town to retain their licenses if they meet certain conditions. Also put in place last year, the provision was a response to harvesters moving out of Harpswell because they cannot find affordable housing.
The rule applies to harvesters who have had a resident commercial license for at least five consecutive years. This year’s amendment would allow harvesters to count their years as student licensees toward the total, so long as those years were consecutive with their years as commercial licensees.
An amendment to the shoreland zoning map would redraw the boundaries of the Mitchell Field Marine Business District, although it would remain the same size. (See “Redrawing the boundary of the Mitchell Field Marine Business District” on Page 7.)
Another item related to Mitchell Field would authorize the town to proceed with the construction of a boat launch, despite escalation in project costs; while a third would direct $35,000 in income from the new communications tower toward improvements to the town’s emergency communications system.
Two questions have to do with HCA. The first will determine whether the town buys back the campus, while the second would raise money to maintain the property.
Another item proposes to accept an easement from a private property owner on Neil’s Point Road, on Harpswell Neck, which would allow for the use of a dry hydrant on the property.
The bulk of the warrant relates to various budgetary matters. The town is proposing a $6.94 million budget for 2023. (See “Town proposes budget with 9.57% increase” on Page 8.)
Seven articles are routine questions that grant the town various administrative powers, such as the authority to establish the due date for taxes and charge interest on late payments.
The meeting will take place at Harpswell Community School. The polls for the town election will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The business meeting, when voters will decide all other questions, will start at 10.