29 May 2013 Kennebec Journal: Whitefield voters to consider Clary Dam purchase talks on Thursday

newspaper-salesman-1flip-customAnother article by Paul Koenig has appeared in today’s Kennebec Journal (and presumably the Morning Sentinel and the Coastal Journal). The article is mostly about the Whitefield Public Meeting to be held tomorrow night at 7 PM at the Whitefield School. One  requirement of the petition filed by Pleasant Pond Mill LLC is that the towns in which the lake resides must hold a public meeting to “consider and act” on the issue of dam ownership:

Jefferson held their meeting a week ago Tuesday night and soundly voted NO to the town accepting ownership of the dam. The Whitefield Selectmen are taking a more interested and proactive role in this matter, a fact that is reflected in the wording of the article:

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Selectmen, on behalf of the Town, to negotiate an agreement to accept ownership of the Clary Lake dam, including all property rights owned by the dam owner and necessary to maintain and operate the dam, on such terms and conditions as the Selectmen deem advisable, subject, however, to final approval by the voters before the Selectmen execute the agreement.

I think the Selectmen are to be commended for their attention to this important matter, but as the KJ article states, I’m not entirely certain how I feel about their pursuit of a deal with Kelley and I won’t really know how I’m going to vote until I’m raising my hand. While I’m all in favor of the town of Whitefield owning the dam, I don’t think the voters are. So it is likely that if the Selectmen are authorized to pursue negotiations to purchase the dam that they will be wasting their time.

While on the question of wasting time, we’re neglecting for the time being the question of whether Paul Kelley’s petition is still valid and operational. DEP has labeled the petition “unsatisfactory” but they haven’t rejected it outright and Kelley hasn’t withdrawn it and according to the article has informed DEP that that Pleasant Pond Mill LLC plans to continue with the steps in the petition process, including filing a report at the end of the consultation period, near the end of September. DEP has stated in that case that they will reject the petition on the basis that Kelley failed to satisfy the statutory requirements for public notice, an opinion I share.

See you at the meeting!