NEWPORT, Maine — The warrant for the March annual town meeting signed by selectmen Wednesday night includes a number of new provisions beyond normal budgetary issues.
Voters who gather next month will decide a wide range of proposals that include regulations for outdoor wood boilers, methadone and other drug treatment centers, livestock within town limits, and the town’s taking of a slice of property along each side of Murray Road to provide better access.
Residents also will vote to accept the town’s updated comprehensive plan.
The annual town meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Sebasticook Valley Community Center. Voting on various town officers, including two selectmen, two school board members, and trustees for the sanitary and water districts, will be held one day earlier.
Town Manager James Ricker outlined the town warrant for the board, explaining that the wood boiler ordinance would ban the use of outdoor boilers between May 1 and Oct. 15.
He also joked that the restrictions on livestock, a regulation that dictates how much land is required, was forced because, “We had people on 60 square feet of land that had two horses, a pony and sheep.”
Methadone and drug treatment centers must be in commercial zones, the new requirement states, and must have at least 25 square feet per patient.
Ricker said that the “order of condemnation,” which is an eminent domain proceeding, would take land on each side of Murray Road, a 50-year-old road that leads to a lakeside subdivision of 75 lots. Most of the homes in that area are year-round residences.
The land, which totals 1,130 feet, is now owned by the Boylan family on the south side of the road and the Norris family on the north. Ricker said the title insurance company, First American, acting on behalf of the lakeside homeowners, has been negotiating with the Boylans and Norrises.
The town proposes to pay each of them $2,000, which will be reimbursed by First American. First American has also offered to pay for a land survey, appraisal and all of the town’s legal costs.
Ricker said there is “no real loss to the Boylans and Norrises other than a few trees” and the land to be taken is valued at $208 for the Boylans and $676 for the Norrises.
However, Chairman Al Worden read a letter from Newport’s attorney that said if the town does not pass the eminent domain action, litigation by the lakeside homeowners will surely follow that could cost the town up to $30,000 in attorneys fees and other costs.
Selectman Richard Parlee said that he expected residents to vote in favor of the action. “It’s no question when you weigh zero dollars against $30,000,” he said.
In other business, the selectmen signed a letter of approval to allow the Maine Department of Transportation to drive overweight trucks on Newport roads while paving occurs to both Interstate 95 and Route 100 between Pittsfield, Palmyra and Newport this summer.