Eliot Select Board ends negotiations for solar array – News …

August 15th, 2017 by admin No comments »

ELIOT, Maine — Negotiations with Barrington Power to build a 132,200-watt passive solar installation on the town’s transfer station landfill have ended, but another builder is in the wings.

The town approved building the array in June. The proposal was for the project to be constructed under a power purchase agreement with Barrington Power. There would be no initial cost to the town, and during the first five years of operation, the town would buy power through Barrington Power at a discount from Central Maine Power rates. The town could buy the array at fair market value after that.

At the last Select Board meeting July 27, the board refrained from signing a contract with Barrington Power. Chairwoman Rebecca Davis was concerned if CMP rates dropped below the floor rate established by Barrington Power, “then we could be upside down.” The town and Barrington Power could not come to an agreement on the rates and the town has begun discussions with ReVision Energy of Brentwood to build the array.

There is urgency to building the array. The Maine Public Utilities Commission allows “net metering” where owners of solar arrays receive credit for 100 percent of the retail value of electricity they feed into the power grid.  But the PUC wants changes made; solar arrays placed on line this year get the 100 percent return for 15 years. For arrays placed on line in 2018, the return would be 90 percent and would be reduced by 10

Article source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170811/eliot-select-board-ends-negotiations-for-solar-array

Eliot Select Board ends negotiations for solar array – Seacoast Online

August 12th, 2017 by admin No comments »

ELIOT, Maine — Negotiations with Barrington Power to build a 132,200-watt passive solar installation on the town’s transfer station landfill have ended, but another builder is in the wings.

The town approved building the array in June. The proposal was for the project to be constructed under a power purchase agreement with Barrington Power. There would be no initial cost to the town, and during the first five years of operation, the town would buy power through Barrington Power at a discount from Central Maine Power rates. The town could buy the array at fair market value after that.

At the last Select Board meeting July 27, the board refrained from signing a contract with Barrington Power. Chairwoman Rebecca Davis was concerned if CMP rates dropped below the floor rate established by Barrington Power, “then we could be upside down.” The town and Barrington Power could not come to an agreement on the rates and the town has begun discussions with ReVision Energy of Brentwood to build the array.

There is urgency to building the array. The Maine Public Utilities Commission allows “net metering” where owners of solar arrays receive credit for 100 percent of the retail value of electricity they feed into the power grid.  But the PUC wants changes made; solar arrays placed on line this year get the 100 percent return for 15 years. For arrays placed on line in 2018, the return would be 90 percent and would be reduced by 10

Article source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170811/eliot-select-board-ends-negotiations-for-solar-array

Brunswick Council approves new zoning ordinance

August 11th, 2017 by admin No comments »

BRUNSWICK — After three-and-a-half years, over 100 public meetings, thousands of hours of work, and six separate drafts, Brunswick’s new zoning ordinance was approved unanimously by town council at the Aug. 7 regular meeting.

The work of the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Committee, the new ordinances are intended to simplify Brunswick’s zoning districts and clarify rules for landowners. Previously, Brunswick’s zoning ordinance included more districts than some major cities.

“It’s gratifying, if nothing else, to say that we’re finally beginning the town council phase of this project,” said Charlie Frizzle, chair of the planning board and ZORC.

The rewrite of the zoning ordinance had five distinct goals: Implement the 2008 comprehensive plan; simplify the zoning district structure; integrate Brunswick Landing into the standards; improve user friendliness, and improve neighborhood edge protections.

Anna Breinich, director of planning and development, said there is still work to be done in the future. Tackling things like dark sky lighting, short-term rentals (like AirBnB), shoreland protection overlays, and rules for retail and medical marijuana establishments are still in the works.

Public comment on the new zoning ordinance was mixed. Many residents expressed approval, and were eager to have the new ordinances implemented so that projects that were on hold could be started.

Mattie Daughtry, a state representative for Brunswick, was on hand as a citizen to express her approval. She and her business partner Philip Welsch were planning to open a small downtown brewery, something that isn’t permitted under the current ordinance. “We’re really excited to learn that this problem is addressed

Article source: http://www.coastaljournal.com/2017/08/10/brunswick-council-approves-new-zoning-ordinance/

Eliot Select Board ends negotiations for solar array

August 11th, 2017 by admin No comments »

ELIOT, Maine — Negotiations with Barrington Power to build a 132,200-watt passive solar installation on the town’s transfer station landfill have ended, but another builder is in the wings.

The town approved building the array in June. The proposal was for the project to be constructed under a power purchase agreement with Barrington Power. There would be no initial cost to the town, and during the first five years of operation, the town would buy power through Barrington Power at a discount from Central Maine Power rates. The town could buy the array at fair market value after that.

At the last Select Board meeting July 27, the board refrained from signing a contract with Barrington Power. Chairwoman Rebecca Davis was concerned if CMP rates dropped below the floor rate established by Barrington Power, “then we could be upside down.” The town and Barrington Power could not come to an agreement on the rates and the town has begun discussions with ReVision Energy of Brentwood to build the array.

There is urgency to building the array. The Maine Public Utilities Commission allows “net metering” where owners of solar arrays receive credit for 100 percent of the retail value of electricity they feed into the power grid.  But the PUC wants changes made; solar arrays placed on line this year get the 100 percent return for 15 years. For arrays placed on line in 2018, the return would be 90 percent and would be reduced by 10

Article source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170811/eliot-select-board-ends-negotiations-for-solar-array

Deer Isle to hold public hearing on marijuana moratorium

August 10th, 2017 by admin No comments »

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Article source: http://www.heraldcourier.com/news/deer-isle-to-hold-public-hearing-on-marijuana-moratorium/article_7a96a79d-a20b-536b-93bb-c29c2af20de1.html

Kittery grapples with role as pot border town – News …

August 8th, 2017 by admin No comments »

KITTERY, Maine — Inside the council chambers on July 24, a group of town officials pondered all the possible ways legalized recreational marijuana could play out in town.

This past November Maine voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana by a slim margin and a state legislative committee is wrestling with the details of use, sales and taxation. In Kittery there was strong support for legalization with 3,448 votes in favor to 2,171 opposed.

“There is a lot of concern, even where marijuana has been legalized in other parts of the country, it’s still fairly new in terms of recreational legalization,” said Kittery Town Manager Kendra Amaral, who serves on the town’s marijuana working group. “The way we’re approaching it is we’re trying to understand as much as we can and proceed in the most public and thoughtful way possible. We are giving the public every possible chance to speak up with the workshops and community forums we’ve hosted so they can let us know if they think we’re going in a wrong direction. Going forward does not come without risks, so it comes down to how we’re going to balance those risks to eliminate as much of the negative impacts and reap as much of the positives.”

Municipal officials in Maine have several months to enact specific land-use ordinances to shape what recreational infrastructure and uses will be permitted in town and where it will be located, however, many municipal leaders are wary

Article source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170806/kittery-grapples-with-role-as-pot-border-town

Maine Smoking Age Raised to 21

August 8th, 2017 by admin No comments »

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Article source: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/maine/articles/2017-08-02/student-debt-relief-tobacco-bills-on-lawmakers-agenda

Kittery grapples with role as pot border town

August 6th, 2017 by admin No comments »

KITTERY, Maine — Inside the council chambers on July 24, a group of town officials pondered all the possible ways legalized recreational marijuana could play out in town.

This past November Maine voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana by a slim margin and a state legislative committee is wrestling with the details of use, sales and taxation. In Kittery there was strong support for legalization with 3,448 votes in favor to 2,171 opposed.

“There is a lot of concern, even where marijuana has been legalized in other parts of the country, it’s still fairly new in terms of recreational legalization,” said Kittery Town Manager Kendra Amaral, who serves on the town’s marijuana working group. “The way we’re approaching it is we’re trying to understand as much as we can and proceed in the most public and thoughtful way possible. We are giving the public every possible chance to speak up with the workshops and community forums we’ve hosted so they can let us know if they think we’re going in a wrong direction. Going forward does not come without risks, so it comes down to how we’re going to balance those risks to eliminate as much of the negative impacts and reap as much of the positives.”

Municipal officials in Maine have several months to enact specific land-use ordinances to shape what recreational infrastructure and uses will be permitted in town and where it will be located, however, many municipal leaders are wary

Article source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170806/kittery-grapples-with-role-as-pot-border-town

Hallowell officials to vote on increasing city budget

August 5th, 2017 by admin No comments »

When the Hallowell City Council meets Monday, its members expect to take final action on the city’s proposed spending plan for the fiscal year and look at the plan for the city’s new fire station.

City Manager Nate Rudy said that while the proposed budget would add 70 cents to the city’s property tax rate, increasing it to $19.10 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the spending plan is as lean as it can get without affecting public safety or the city’s ability to do business.

Hallowell City Manager Nate Rudy, shown at City Hall, says the city is looking at a $5.94 million budget proposal after Hallowell City Manager Nate Rudy, shown at City Hall, says the city is looking at a $5.94 million budget proposal after


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The Hallowell City Council is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the council chamber at City Hall on Winthrop Street.

In his preliminary report to the City Council in April, Rudy said the city’s spending was anticipated to increase 2.92 percent, or $172,000, taking the budget from $5.87 million to $6.04 million. The source of the increase was increases in administrative costs and legal services charges as well as changes in the city’s Fire Department.

Since then, however, the funding picture from the state has become clear and both the Regional School Unit 2 budget and the Kennebec County budgets have been set.

“We are looking at a

Article source: http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/08/05/hallowell-officials-to-vote-on-increasing-city-budget/

National groups hail Maine’s new flame retardant limits

August 5th, 2017 by admin No comments »

Firefighters and national chemical safety groups said they hope the nation follows Maine’s lead in passing a tough flame retardants law that the chemical industry lobbied against.

Lawmakers on Wednesday overrode Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a law supporters say will reduce firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens. Starting in 2019, Maine will prohibit the sale of new upholstered furniture made with materials that contain more than 1 percent of a flame-retardant chemical.

The restrictions don’t apply to furniture used in schools, jails and hospitals; that furniture instead goes through safety tests. The law uses about $165,000 from the state’s medical marijuana fund to hire an environmental specialist to monitor furniture sales.

A decade ago, Maine banned some flame retardants, but some firefighters say that law was insufficient to protect them from newer substitutes. Household furniture can meet safety standards without such chemicals, and smoke detectors and sprinklers save lives, said Portland Fire Capt. Mike Nixon.

He said fire gear companies are beginning to roll out suits that keep retardants from coming into contact with skin, but added, “There’s still nothing perfect out there.”

Nixon said he was diagnosed with late stage melanoma in 2012 when he was 41 and later received two surgeries and 11 months of chemotherapy. He can’t say exactly what led to his diagnosis, though a 2006 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine review of 32 studies suggested a possible increased likelihood of skin cancer for firefighters.

Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center and Prevent Harm,

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/08/04/national-groups-hail-maines-new-flame-retardants-ban/