May 30, 2020
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Chesuncook Lake House gets liquor license

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Piscataquis County commissioners approved a liquor license for the Chesuncook Lake House and Cabins on Tuesday, despite a flurry of e-mails and letters received over the past few weeks from seasonal residents in the Unorganized Territory who opposed the license.

A public hearing was held on the owners’ application last month, but action was tabled because the application was incomplete. On Tuesday, Commissioners Fred Trask and Tom Lizotte voted to approve the license while Eric Ward opposed the move. There was no discussion on the application at Tuesday’s meeting.

Some of the seasonal residents opposed to the license wrote of problems in the remote community that have pitted Luisa and David Surprenant, the owners of the inn, against some property owners.

The problems surfaced in 2005 when the Surprenants discovered an error in the location of part of the Main Road after they had constructed one of three housekeeping cabins. Based on the Surprenants’ findings and a survey they commissioned, the commissioners authorized them to move about 20 feet of Main Road from their land to the north. That move upset other property owners, who said Main Road had been in the same location for more than 50 years and should not have been moved.

As a result of that action, a seasonal resident filed a lawsuit against the commissioners and the Surprenants which later was dismissed, and accusations have circulated about who is responsible for acts of vandalism that have taken place since then. Those acts include punctured tires on vehicles, water and other liquids put in gasoline tanks of vehicles parked at the landing, holes drilled in propane lines, vandalism to equipment, and bullets fired into the air, according to police.

Piscataquis County Sheriff John Goggin said he had to send deputies to Chesuncook a couple of times in the last month to handle complaints, but getting there was not easy. He said he had planned to have his deputies use a snowmobile from the warden service in Greenville, but the wardens were using the vehicles for enforce-ment details at the time. The deputies had to return to the Dover-Foxcroft area and get their own snowmobiles to use, he said.

“I have a concern about our people using their own sleds going great distances to do something [for the county], and I think there’s some liability there,” Goggin said Tuesday. He had mentioned last month that his department needed its own snowmobile to reach such areas not accessible to four-wheel vehicles during the winter months, including camp roads, and reiterated that need Tuesday.

Lizotte agreed with Goggin’s concerns. “It makes me uneasy to have officers using their own sleds,” because of the liability issues, he said. He and the other commissioners suggested that Goggin obtain some quotes from snowmobile dealers in the region and present them at a future meeting.

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