Camden board votes in favor of easement for public way

Posted April 30, 2009, at 8:56 p.m.

CAMDEN, Maine — It’s official: Camden residents will have a 900-foot-long public path that runs along the Megunticook River.

Select Board members voted unanimously Wednesday night in favor of the easement, which would make the strip of land on the site of the former Apollo Tannery a public way, with the easement held by the nonprofit Coastal Mountains Land Trust.

Residents voted last November to make the corridor a public pathway and again last week to extend the easement to the river’s edge.

Board members mulled over whether or not the narrow walkway might need a public restroom or gazebo-type facility at some point in the future.

“I really feel that we have a very serious duty to look over this [easement] so carefully and to think about the future,” said Anita Brosius-Scott as she brought up the question of the public toilet facility.

Board member John French disagreed with the need to decide that night on the possibility of a restroom or other facility.

“I don’t think the sense of the path is to have a bunch of structures on it,” he said.

Deborah Dodge said that she had second thoughts about connecting the corridor to sewer lines.

“I think so much of the way the river walk has been envisioned is staying in a natural state as much as possible,” she said.

Another concern of the Select Board was that the easement has been written in a way that if the town veers away from its purpose, Coastal Mountains Land Trust would own the strip of land.

“I feel that we’re giving away town land,” said Karen Grove, board member.

Dodge explained that the wording is to make sure the town doesn’t decide to sell the easement in the future.

“It’s the price to be paid for abandoning the purpose,” Dodge said.

The closing on the easement is scheduled to take place today.

Nancy Caudle-Johnson of Camden, a longtime advocate of the river walk, was one of a handful of people at the sparsely attended meeting.

“I’m relieved,” she said after the vote. “We can move on to other things now … This is a lovely outcome for such a site.”

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