June 24, 2018
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Housing authority zoning request still on hold

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BREWER, Maine — City councilors on Tuesday did not act on a Brewer Housing Authority zoning change request for a senior housing project on Chamberlain Street, which was first tabled back in January, so it was continued for a fourth time.

Councilor Jerry Goss, who is the board’s liaison to the housing authority, voiced his concern that his fellow councilors were basically allowing possible federal tax credit dollars to slip away.

“By not making any movement tonight I think we missed the boat,” he said. “Timing is critical.”

The housing authority is partnering with social service agency Penquis to build a $5.14 million, 32-unit senior housing project at 258 Chamberlain St., which was purchased in October from Calvin Bubar, former chairman of the housing authority board.

Officials with the housing authority and Penquis have said they have an April 29 deadline to apply for the 2010 Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program to fund the project.

This year’s round of tax credits includes a one-time supplemental grant program, funded with federal stimulus funds, officials have said.

Councilors tabled the zoning change at their Jan. 12 meeting and again in February, saying they wanted to see the results of an investigation into whether any laws were broken — particularly the state’s conflict of interest law — when the parcel was purchased.

“The unfortunate thing is I think a very worthwhile project for the city of Brewer is going to pay the price” for the inactive council, Goss said.

During the meeting, councilors also:

• Recognized the Brewer High School hockey team for earning the 2010 Class B State Championship title, and presented the team with medals hung on orange-and-black sashes. Those at the meeting gave the team a standing ovation. “It was a team effort,” coach David Shedd said. “It’s a great group of kids.”

• Honored former Fire Chief Rick Bronson for his 36 years serving the city as a firefighter, the last 11 years leading the department. He was presented two plaques, one from the city and one from Penobscot Regional Communications Center.

• Proclaimed May 8 as Letter Carriers Food Drive Day and asked residents to combat hunger by leaving nonperishable food items by their mailboxes on that day.

• Accepted $5,000 in grant funds from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, $350 from the Kiwanis Club, $540 from Maine Community Foundation, and $1,000 from Bodwell Engineering Book Grant for the Brewer Library.

• Scheduled another council meeting for noon April 20 to post an order to extend the marijuana clinic moratorium and to consider amusement licenses.

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