May 26, 2018
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Train complaint, building restrictions on Rockland agenda

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — There was plenty of discussion, but few actions taken at the City Council’s special meeting Nov. 1 — the day before two of the five councilors would leave their seats.

Councilors heard a report that the train in town does not meet Environmental Protection Agency noise standards in some circumstances. Todd Coffin of GEI Consultants said his company’s study showed that when the train idles at 8 a.m. the brakes discharge air and cause what he called a “pshhhh” sound that exceeds allowed decibel levels. Coffin said residents have not complained about this.

The council will decide whether to report the activity, but no specific dates were set for discussion of the issue.

Residents had complained about the pollution drifting into their homes from the train, and Coffin said that this was occurring, albeit infrequently. The old trains used in Rockland are immune to any emission standards, he said.

Also at the meeting, John A. Root, the city’s code enforcement officer, gave a report on a proposed ordinance change that would set height limits on downtown buildings. Rules now state that new buildings must blend in with surrounding buildings. The new rules would give height specifications in feet, rather than the more subjective standard. This would limit buildings in the heart of downtown to about five stories and the surrounding area to about four stories.

The planning board is considering a five-story building on South Main Street where the Hollydachs Pet Center recently was torn down. This building will be analyzed based on the older standard.

The council decided to delay any decisions on the issue until the two new city councilors take their seats in December.

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