Property claim undermines Rockland salt and sand shed project

Posted Jan. 22, 2014, at 10:51 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 22, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The city’s plans to build a salt and sand shed have been delayed, at least temporarily, after a local businesswoman told city officials she has rights to the proposed site.

Susan Barbour of Barbour & Associates Real Estate in Rockland gave the city a handwritten letter Tuesday afternoon, an hour before the Rockland Planning Board was set to review the municipal project.

In her letter, Barbour said she retains mineral rights to the former Rockland-Rockport Lime Company property and also retains a right-of-way across part of the city-owned lot.

City Attorney Kevin Beal said he has asked Barbour to have her attorney contact him so the two can try to figure out what the facts are. But with the letter in hand, the city opted to not have the planning board review the salt and sand shed application Tuesday night.

The city currently keeps its sand and salt pile outside on a smaller city owned lot on Burrows Street.

The city has considered building a salt and sand shed at a different location for several years in order to reduce the amount of sand that is lost during rains and to prevent that runoff from going into a brook that eventually feeds into Weskeag Marsh. A shed also would prevent the mixture from freezing in the winter before it is applied on the roads.

Rockland voters in November approved a ballot question to borrow $586,000 to build the shed. Voters supported the borrowing 573-528.

Beal said the issue of mineral rights and a right-of-way had not been raised prior to Tuesday to city officials.

A telephone message left for Barbour Wednesday morning was not immediately returned.

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