Sewer project on hold

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Selectmen on Tuesday decided to wait before proceeding with a proposal by the town manager to extend the town’s sewer lines along the Freeman Ridge Road.

In July, Town Manager Don Lagrange asked selectmen to consider installing 1,200 feet of sewer line along the road. The pipe would tie into an existing sewer line on the Seal Cove Road. In making his case, Lagrange said the move would benefit existing homeowners and encourage new housing in an area of town that has “the best potential” for future development.

Subsequently, selectmen approved test borings along that stretch of the Freeman Ridge Road in order to determine the amount of rock ledge that would need to be removed to install the sewer line.

However, the board decided on Tuesday that the project was not a top priority.

“In my opinion, this is low on the list,” said Selectman Tom Benson. “There are other areas that need more attention.”

Selectman Dan Norwood agreed.

“It’s a big expense to pick up very little revenue in the short term,” he said.

The cost of installing the sewer line is estimated at between $80,000 and $100,000. Only 11 properties would be served by the line, one of which is a 25-acre parcel that Lagrange has identified as having the potential for the development of up to 60 residences. Lagrange has noted the town would recoup the expense of installing the line through user fees. Even with no new development, the town would break even in 25 years, he said.

Selectmen were not convinced that development would take place along the Freeman Ridge Road. They noted that the road was not identified as a growth area in the town’s comprehensive plan.

No action was taken. Selectmen agreed to not proceed with the plan at this time.

Land purchase

In other business, selectmen voted to put the purchase of the Knote property on the ballot for the November elections and accepted a bid for installation of a water line on Forest Avenue.

The town’s offer to buy the Knote property on the Shore Road for $600,000 was accepted by the owners earlier this month. Plans call for the property, which is adjacent to the Manset Town Dock, to be developed into a paid parking lot. Before the deal can go through, voters must give their approval. They will get that chance on Election Day, Nov. 3.

Public hearings regarding the purchase and development of the parking lot will be held in advance of the vote. The first of the hearings tentatively is scheduled for Oct. 13 at the fire station.

Selectmen awarded the contract for installing the water line on Forest Avenue to John Goodwin Jr. Construction. The company bid $226,824 to do the work. Part of the construction cost will come from $78,000 in funds left over from the Main Street construction project, Lagrange said.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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