Originally published in The Weekly Packet, January 2, 2014
Blue Hill Selectmen allow residential use of sand salt, limit parking behind town hall
by Faith DeAmbrose
Blue Hill Selectmen voted to reinstate community use of taxpayer funded sand/salt at the Route 172 sand salt building at their December 20 meeting. They also called a special town meeting on December 27 to amend the Traffic Ordinance to ban public parking at town hall during the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The access to sand salt—a historic perk for residents of town—was in question after the Maine Department of Transportation said last April that the town could no longer use the shed that housed sand salt after its newly constructed building was built and the state (as obligated under a state program to cover sand salt piles) refunded some of the construction costs. The former community area did not have a floor and therefor salt could leach into the ground.
Once driveways started to ice up, selectmen received calls from residents asking for access to the sand salt. At their December 13 meeting selectmen questioned if it was the end of an era where sand salt was available or if a new receptacle could be built to make the mixture available.
Selectmen ultimately decided, at their December 20 meeting, “to extend the policy of allowing residents to take portions of sand for personal use from a designated area near the sand shed,” according to minutes of that meeting. Sand salt is available to residents now at the building location.
“The parking spaces behind the town hall, alongside the town hall and directly across the street from Merrill & Hinckley are reserved for town hall staff and those persons doing business at the town hall. This restriction will be enforced from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Violators will be subject to having their vehicles towed at the owner’s expense.” That was the one item special town warrant held December 27. No voters came to speak for or against the issue.
It is an occasional problem, but in order to enforce it we needed to make a change to the ordinance, said Selectman Jim Schatz, adding that the ordinance change is not meant to target specific individuals.