WARREN, Maine — Residents without debate gave near unanimous approval Thursday night to authorizing the town to spend up to $60,000 more to pay for the lengthy legal battle over a proposed methadone clinic.
And at the meeting, the chairman of the town’s select board acknowledged that three other members of the planning board resigned in addition to last week’s resignation of the longtime chairman of the planning board — actions all related to the contentious issue of the clinic.
The Thursday night vote was at a special town meeting held at the Warren Community School. More than 30 people turned out for the meeting.
The approved 2012 municipal budget includes $20,000 for legal fees. Town Manager Grant Watmough said at the end of July that the town had already spent $28,000 in this account. The town has been paying an attorney to advise selectmen, one for the planning board and one for the Zoning Board of Appeals.
A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 17 in U.S. District Court in Portland on whether the tentative settlement reached last year between the town and CRC should be enforced. CRC has opposed that action, arguing that the settlement was contingent on town approval of the clinic but it has not been finally approved because of both the zoning board appeal and the lack of approval by the Warren Sanitary District.
Select Board Chairman Doug Pope said Thursday night that at the previous night’s select board meeting, three other members of the planning board submitted their resignations effective immediately. Their resignations bring to four the number of people who have left in the past week. Chairman Peter Krakoff submitted his resignation last week after 22 years on the planning board, including 20 as chairman. The three other resignations were from Melody Sainio, Beverly Williamson and Elisabeth Clark.
Pope said that all four are basically due to the long, drawn-out review of the CRC plan that has been met by strong opposition from neighbors.
Also at the meeting, residents voted for the 14th straight year to waive foreclosure of the former R.D. Outfitters rifle range on Route 90.
The owner, Steamship Navigation, has not paid property taxes since before 1999 and since then selectmen have asked and voters agreed not to foreclose on the property, which would then make it town-owned.
The town has been trying to deal with how to handle all the wastes dumped on the site when it was owned by the rifle range.
Residents also approved Thursday night, with seven residents opposed, to spend $60,000 to demolish the former Warren Primary School building. The demolition is expected to take place this fall.
The 9,600-square-foot building was turned over to the town in 2007 after School Administrative District 40 determined it had no further use for the structure. SAD 40 had used the building for several years for administrative offices after the primary school closed.
The building was originally built in 1963 as Warren High School but was used as a primary school when Medomak Valley High School in neighboring Waldoboro opened in 1968. The Warren property includes 5.5 acres.