Originally published in The Weekly Packet, October 4, 2012
Sedgwick Selectmen deal with loose ends in Sedgwick as voters approve moratorium and hire a new CEO
by Bette Britt
While some small towns in Maine debate the merits of allowing wind towers to dot surrounding mountain tops, those living in the coastal town of Sedgwick have been concerned about the possible proliferation of telecommunication towers. There are already two of them, one on Ridge Road and the other atop Caterpillar Hill, and the “strong likelihood” that other areas of the town might continue to be subjected to development pressure loomed large enough in the minds of voters to prompt having an ordinance written.
The Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Moratorium Ordinance for the Town of Sedgwick was signed on Thursday, August 23, by selectmen Colby Pert and Victor Smith (chairman Neil Davis was absent). It defined facilities as “any wireless telecommunications tower, the purpose of which is primarily to receive and transmit telecommunications to off-site customers” and indicated Sedgwick was “under threat of increased development pressure,” which was “unanticipated and has not been adequately provided for in the Town’s current ordinances.” It would take at least 180 days to develop and implement a Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance and “the necessary amendments to zoning and land-use ordinances and regulations;” such an ordinance was “immediately necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety and welfare.” If voters agreed—and they did, at a special town meeting on September 6—the moratorium will take effect on that date and run to March 6, 2013.
As one of several candidates for the Code Enforcement Officer position recently vacated by Duane Ford, newly-hired—and already busily at work—CEO Edward Michaels was on hand at the Thursday, September 27, selectmen’s meeting. The unanimous (3-0) vote on Thursday, September 13, was to hire Michaels on a temporary basis until April 1, 2013. He was promptly sworn in by town clerk Cynthia Reilly, and minutes of that meeting indicate he was “brought up to date on the Patten case.” The September 20 minutes refer to Michaels having been to Augusta relative to that matter, as well as having been out in the field to check on a local building site. The new CEO comes from Durham but is looking for an area residence, something with land on which to raise goats; he is the father of grown children. Michaels is certified as both a Code Enforcement Officer and a Local Plumbing Inspector, with familiarity in shoreland zoning and land use regulation, as well as residential and commercial building inspections. He is a 1978 graduate of Wright State University.
Asked at the recent selectmen’s meeting to update work on the Walker Pond access project, selectmen were quick to speak of public reaction to having local access after so many years of waiting. “Ninety-nine percent of the people have nothing but good things to say about it,” enthused Victor Smith. Davis described work yet to be done now that summer is over. A recent meeting between Sedgwick-Brooksville selectmen, Friends of Walker Pond, engineer Andy McCullough, John Cullen of the DEP and a handful of others was deemed a success, with one conclusion being that the milfoil program was “actually up and doing well”.