Vassalboro Select Board
Minutes of the Meeting
June 24, 2021

Members Present: Rob Browne, Christopher French, and Barbara Redmond

Others Present: Mary Sabins, Kayla Krause, Mike Poulin, Paul Mitnik, Walker Thompson, Mary Grow, Melissa & Zach Olson, Brian Stanley, Joe & Mary Presti, Morgan Titus Rau, and one unknown male member of the public.

1. Call to order – The meeting was called to order by Chairman Rob Browne at 6:30 pm.

2. Minutes – On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by C. French, the Board voted unanimously to accept the minutes of the 6/10/21 meeting as written.

3. Code Officer’s report on 14 Priest Hill Road – Code Officer Paul Mitnik reported on a compliance issue he has been dealing with over the last four months at 14 Priest Hill Road where an old dilapidated church with a steeple is located. Paul reported that the property owner, Chad Caron, began remodeling the old church (before he owned the property) without a building permit. Paul issued a notice of violation in January for building without a permit, and gave Mr. Caron 30 days to apply for a permit. Mr. Caron did not comply. In May, Paul issued another notice of violation, also expressing his concern that the building is not structurally sound with only loose bricks holding the front of the building up and a steeple that reportedly sways in the wind. Paul stated that he had warned Mr. Caron that he planned to come to the Select Board meeting tonight to seek Board approval to commence legal enforcement action. Paul suggested the Board could consider declaring the building unsafe and have the building torn down at the owner’s expense through the tax lien process. Paul stated that his style of dealing with non-compliant property owners is to give the violator plenty of time to comply, and also to consider a consent agreement between the parties rather than court action. A consent agreement in this case could include such conditions as tarping the materials stored haphazardly around the grounds of the property, erecting a fence to conceal the material debris, installing a dumpster on site, and make the building safe with inspections required throughout the process. Paul stated that he recently learned that a building contractor named Wendell Baker was thinking about making an investment in the property, which gave Paul hope that compliance and improvements may be forthcoming on the property. Paul stated that he needs to know the goal of the project and a detailed floor plan. He also stated that he is not quite ready to pursue the dangerous building aspect yet because he wants to give the new contractor time to get stuff done. Chairman Browne agrees with the plan to give the owner time to comply. Paul recommended waiting another month before taking legal action because the property was cleaned up some recently. After discussion, the Board agreed by consensus to wait another month to see if more progress is made and to invite the landowner to come to the July Select Board meeting to discuss the matter. Morgan Rau, abutting property owner next door to the project, stated that there is nothing holding up the swaying steeple now, and sewerage drains from the project site into her yard. Chairman Browne suggested adding the cleanup and correction of the sewer drainage problem as part of the consent agreement, stating that we need to protect the neighbors. Morgan also stated that Wendell has been involved with this project since October of last year, so she was not optimistic that improvements to the construction site are imminent.

4. Marijuana Business Ordinance fees – Select Board Member Barbara Redmond asked if there is any facility in Town currently manufacturing marijuana (MJ) products, to which Code Officer Mitnik stated he was unsure. B. Redmond stated that she had looked for MJ permit fees online. Chairman Browne offered that liquor license fees at his golf business (Natanis) is $1,000 per year and he felt a similar fee for the MJ Business ordinance fees might be appropriate. The fees could be adjusted by the Board over time if necessary. Applications for MJ Business permits in town are due in to the town office by August 7th, so permit fees must be set soon. The Board members agreed more time is needed to do more research before setting fees. Code Officer Paul Mitnik explained to the Board that he has considerable time invested in this MJ business permitting process already. He thinks the fee should be more like $500. The Board members agreed by consensus to table this topic until the July meeting.

5. Discuss future vision and planning for the recreation program –M. Sabins stated she had attended a Recreation Committee meeting at the ball fields on Monday June 24th and felt that was a beneficial meeting. She was able to share budgetary information with them and offered to support the committee and continue to keep the lines of communication open. She said for the 2021 fiscal year there will be two co-chairs, Brian Stanley and Becky Jenkins. Brian Stanley requested to be added to the agenda for tonight’s meeting and a few recreation committee members were also present to discuss with the Board a list of questions that they had covering several topics. First, the problems with damage and theft at the ball fields. The Rec Committee asked the board if there were monies available to purchase some sort of security system for the field entrance area where someone is doing donuts in the parking lot repeatedly. Game cameras, Ring, and O.W.L. were all suggestions that were discussed. Research will need to be made regarding internet availability at that location, which is a requirement for some of the security system options. No decisions were made. Second, problems with smoking on the ball field property was brought up. At present, a few smoking areas are designated at the recreation area. Some rec members felt that smoking on the grounds should be prohibited completely; others felt that the child participant numbers may suffer and parents won’t bring children to participate if they are not allowed to smoke on the grounds. Enforcement of smoking rules is also a problem. General discussion was given and ideas exchanged, but no formal decision was made for going forward. Third, the Rec Committee asked the question of how a prospective parent who is interested in coaching, yet had failed a background check, can become a coach for something that maybe on their record from years past. M. Sabins explained her process of conducting those background checks and relying on Mark Brown to help explain what the results of such background checks mean. A decision is then made after discussing the record or length of time since the violation or what the violation entailed. The goal is to keep Vassalboro and all children safe. Fourth, the problem with a gazebo that was purchased by the former Vassalboro Rec Director for approximately $2,800 that the Rec Committee has no use for. They asked if the Town was willing to buy that gazebo and use it for functions for the town or for the proposed park to be developed on Route 32. The board suggested ideas of selling it on Facebook Marketplace to recoup some monies, or seeking out ways to possibly return the item to the company it was purchased from. Fifth, the committee suggested having access to a credit card so that purchases can be made outside of approved vendors. Many times items can be purchased cheaper on-line for the department, but since the Town does not have an account set up with a particular vendor, the Rec committee is unable to purchase the items. The Board was not in favor of establishing a credit card for the department, but M. Sabins did suggest obtaining the paperwork from local vendors to establish credit accounts where the committee members desired to make purchases in the future. Sixth, it was asked if the stipend for the “Chair” for this year can go back to the Rec committee. The Board and Sabins confirmed if that is what the committee decides, that is their choice.

6. Discuss and vote on carry forward amounts into FY 2021-22 – M. Sabins went over a spreadsheet of potential carry forward accounts and amounts that she provided to the Board. She explained that in the past, money has typically only been carried forward to complete planned but unfinished projects, as well as all recreation department appropriations. On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by C. French, the Board voted unanimously to approve the list provided by Sabins of amounts to be carried forward into next fiscal year.

7. Appointments – M. Sabins provided a list of appointments and reappointments needed for the fiscal year 2021. Selectman Chris French removed himself from the list of Conservation Commission appointment renewals. On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by C. French, the Board voted unanimously to approve the list of appointments as amended with Chris’ name removed. The Board then signed the correlated appointment papers.

8. Reports – On a motion made by B. Redmond, seconded by C. French, the Board voted unanimously to accept the Road Report as presented.

9. Treasurer’s Warrants – On a motion made by R. Browne, seconded by C. French, the Board voted unanimously to approve warrants #71 and #72.

10. Other1.) Walker Thompson, Vassalboro Fire Chief, spoke to the Board regarding the fire calls and complaints about burning at 14 Priest Hill Road. He stated the fire department has responded several times to calls about non-permitted burning at the property. W. Thompson has explained to the owner Chad Caron that there is no burning before 5 p.m. and that burning after 5 p.m. requires a burning permit. W. Thompson also explained to Caron that burning plastic and construction debris is prohibited. W. Thompson has contacted the Maine Forest Service about 14 Priest Hill Road to inform them of the illegal burning activity and multiple fire calls to that location. 2.) M. Sabins discussed the final plans for bookkeeper Jean Poulin’s retirement celebration open house to be held on July 1st at 12:30 p.m. here at the Town Office. She discussed plans to pick up a gift card from Fieldstone Gardens to present to Jean along with a card that M. Sabins passed to the Board members to sign wishing Jean well into her retirement and thanking her for her 15 years of work for the Town of Vassalboro. M. Sabins encouraged board members to attend as well as the public to say goodbye to Jean. 3.) B. Redmond briefly mentioned an e-mail that she had received from the Town of China in reference to their Comprehensive Plan and asked if we needed to respond. No action was taken.

11. Adjourn – There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

/mss & kk

These minutes were read and accepted by the Select Board on 8/12/21 with the following amendments: None.