Facing legal action, storage company turns out sign’s interior lighting; will ask Planning Board to rescind condition

Going through authorized motion, storage firm seems signal’s inside lighting; will ask Planning Board to rescind situation

Stark Storage will return to the Bridgton Planning Board requesting a situation requiring exterior, not inner, lighting be rescinded.

By Wayne E. Rivet

Workers Author

Stark Storage has seen the sunshine, a minimum of for now.

Following an govt session final week, the Bridgton Choose Board unanimously agreed to pursue authorized motion in opposition to the storage firm, which had disregarded a situation of approval by putting in a business signal that makes use of “inner lighting” fairly than the authorized “exterior lighting.”

The Bridgton Planning Board on March 16, 2021 authorized building of the storage facility at 116 North Excessive Avenue, throughout from Mountain Street, with some situations connected together with the usage of exterior lights to light up the roadside signal.

The city put the brakes on in search of authorized motion Monday when Stark agreed to “take away the bulbs from the signal” inside just a few days, in line with Code Enforcement Officer Brenda Day.

Stark, which is represented by Dustin Roma of DM Roma Consulting Engineers of Windham, plans to return to the Planning Board to request rescinding the lighting situation.

“They’re previous the timeframe to attraction the unique Planning Board utility approval,” Day mentioned, “Nonetheless, they might enter a brand new 30-day attraction timeframe with the modification (request).”

The storage facility is owned by Keith Harnum of Salisbury, Mass., in line with the Planning Board’s Findings of Truth and Conclusions of Regulation.

Roma spoke briefly to the Choose Board final Tuesday after officers voted to hunt authorized treatment to the lighting difficulty. He famous the present signal is an identical to 1 on the Windham storage facility. Roma identified that the signal put in right here is allowed within the Combined-Use Hall District, and the corporate objected to the Planning Board’s determination to require an externally lighted signal.

“The Board imposed this situation for approval of an externally lit signal as a way to preserve the character of the wooded and pure darkish hall, and to not detract from close by properties and the world. At the moment, there are not any internally lit indicators on this Combined-Use District hall, and including such was deemed intrusive,” in line with the Planning Board’s Discovering of Information.

Planners additionally famous that the applicant, Stark Storage, had beforehand “voluntarily agreed” to make use of an externally lighted signal on Feb. 4, 2021 and “subsequently reversed that in an e-mail communication on Feb. 13 citing upkeep considerations.”

Planners “argued on Feb. 24 that upkeep may very well be largely averted by means of sure design options resembling how the lighting is mounted.”

Close by enterprise indicators (Sportshaus and the brand new Nice Mountain Ski Resort) use exterior lighting.

“On this case, we aren’t understanding how any of our neighbors can be permitted to construct the precise signal we put up. The one place prohibited for an internally lit signal is the village,” Roma mentioned. “The one rationalization we’ve been given from the Code Workplace is it’s due to the situation positioned by the Planning Board. We perceive these situations had been placed on the plan, however we don’t really feel the Planning Board has the power to simply single us out as one property proprietor and say you’ll be able to’t have an internally lit signal. I simply wish to make you perceive that we weren’t simply doing this in full defiance. We introduced our case, and up to now, nobody has instructed us that we’re not assembly the ordinance. It was simply merely a situation that the Planning Board placed on that ought to by no means have been placed on the plan. That’s how we’ve bought to the place we’re.” 

Bridgton City Supervisor Robert Peabody instructed Roma that Choose Board members wouldn’t touch upon his remarks on account of pending litigation.

“Honest sufficient,” Roma resoponded.

Native developer Mark Lopez, nonetheless, chimed in on the matter. Noting he’s very acquainted with the appliance course of since he too proposed to construct a storage facility within the open discipline space adjoining to Sportshaus, Lopez mentioned, “I had the identical situation placed on my plan. The signal needed to be externally lit. Mr. Roma is aware of full properly you need to meet the situations; you’ll be able to’t simply say properly we don’t wish to do it as a result of it’s not in your signal ordinance; that’s a part of going by means of the method; you’ll be able to negotiate with the Planning Board; they make some concessions.”

Lopez added that if Stark Storage didn’t just like the Planning Board’s situation, “that they had an avenue to attraction at the moment, to not go in and put the check in, ignore notification from the code officer, after which come right here and say we didn’t do it as a result of it’s not within the signal ordinance. They know higher, in the event that they didn’t just like the situations they need to have come again with an attraction.”

In different Choose Board enterprise:

DEP grant landed — Bridgton will obtain $150,000 for a Wildwood Street undertaking by means of the Maine Division of Environmental Safety’s Stream Crossing Grant Program.

This system offers grants that match native funding for the improve of culverts at stream crossings on municipal roads. Tasks funded by means of this program will profit public infrastructure and security by changing failing culverts which can be prone to full washout or collapse; cut back flooding and enhance resiliency with the set up or bigger, larger capability and longer-lived crossings, profit fish and wildlife by opening and reconnecting stream habitat fragmented by undersized and impassable culverts, and characterize a cheap and environment friendly funding primarily based on planning, element, and native matching funds dedicated to the undertaking.

Funding for this spherical of grants contains $3 million from the Maine Jobs and Restoration Plan, with further awards being created from previously-returned grant funds. The Maine Division of Environmental Safety (DEP) obtained 45 functions to overview with a complete over $6.5 million {dollars} in funding requests. Thirty-two stream crossing initiatives funded this spherical will end in new or improved upstream fish passage to 60 miles of stream habitat, and end in much less flooding and improved resilience of native transportation infrastructure.

Bridgton had utilized for the stream crossing enchancment grant final 12 months, however proved unsuccessful.

“We had been excessive on checklist however didn’t make the reduce,” City Supervisor Bob Peabody mentioned.

This time, Bridgton make the reduce. Peabody famous the efforts by Government Assistant Nikki Hodgkins, who headed up the appliance course of and served as the purpose particular person, together with Public Providers Director David Madsen, wastewater undertaking engineer Brent Bridges and Jeff Stearns of the Woods Pond Affiliation.

The Choose Board voted to simply accept the award. The city will take matching funds of $105,000 out of Capital Tasks Reserve, which had a $409,500 stability. Peabody mentioned $44,000 will likely be taken from this account as a part of crosswalk undertaking funding.

“We don’t sometimes finances for grants not realizing whether or not we might get it or not, which is why we now have reserve funds benefit from alternatives resembling this,” Peabody mentioned. “The method doesn’t supply full funding of a undertaking. We acknowledge that space isn’t densely populated space however does impression Woods Pond.”

June 13 warrant articles will embrace: Amendments fireplace safety and life security ordinance; Repeal ordinance of adoption of worldwide constructing code one or two-person dwellings (changed by new constructing code, adopted all through Maine; code irrelevant and out dated now); and Repeal phosphate detergent ordinance.

Choose Board members had been requested whether or not they would come with their suggestions to voters relating to the three articles.

Chair Carmen Lone mentioned in previous years when she didn’t know the background relating to some articles, she went with Choose Board suggestions.

Board members voted unanimously to advocate passage of the articles.

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