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D-F selectmen looking to extend corridor moratorium ordinance

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Three years ago residents approved an ordinance concerning private distribution corridors, including paved highways, pipelines and high-tension transmission lines. The moratorium enacted in 2014 — meaning permits for these types of development projects cannot be granted during the timeline — was in effect for 180 days. The moratorium has since been renewed five times with the current extension in place through the end of May.

During an April 24 selectmen’s meeting the board scheduled a public hearing on a 180-day moratorium extension for the Monday, May 22 meeting. If granted the policy would continue through late November.

“We have extended it because we continue to work on our land use ordinance,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said. He said that as long as reasonable progress is being made to address the needs identified in the moratorium then extensions can be granted.

The updated land use ordinance may be readied in time to be brought forward to the town in time for a vote at the November election.

The May 22 select meeting will also include a hearing on the warrant articles for the Tuesday, June 13 referendum.

On Saturday at 9 a.m. residents will gather in the gym at the Morton Avenue Municipal Building for the annual town meeting. Items approved on April 29 will then be moved to the ballot to be decided in the voting booth on June 13.

In other business, the board held a hearing as part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application for the Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen as the West Main Street business is seeking $50,000 for equipment to expand its operation.

Clukey said the selectmen discussed the grant about a month prior with Piscataquis County Economic Development Council (PCEDC) Director Chris Winstead as the PCEDC submitted a letter of intent by the town on behalf of the Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen. “I believe the state responded to the letter and are allowing the follow-up,” Clukey said.

Winstead said CDBG funds are federal monies distributed to the states “to help our businesses and communities.” He said the application for the Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen is for a microenterprise grant, which would provide up to $50,000.

“Dustin and I started our business in 2013,” Natasha Colby said about the establishment she and her husband operate. She said in May 2016 they opened their store at 920 West Main Street.

“We are able to be open four days a week, preparing bread and pastries and also selling our farm food,” Colbry said.

Winstead said he was struck by the fact that the Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen can now only bake a half dozen loaves of bread at a time for a total of about 45 per day. He said the grant would fund a new oven to enable 40-60 loaves to be baked in a single session.

“When you look at efficiency and increasing efficiency, that is what we are looking for with the grant program,” he said. He said the oven would make up a big part of the grant, and other monies would fund a new hood, walk-in freezer and cover a few minor renovations.

Dustin Colbry said they are seeking CDBG funds for equipment as he and his wife paid for all the previous building renovations on their own.

“To have them up here in the county is a huge success for us,” Winstead said, as both the Colbrys are graduates of Foxcroft Academy. The PCEDC director said the grant application is due on Friday and “we should know by the end of May” if funding has been awarded.
“I think it’s important for business in this area to use these programs and many do,” Clukey said.

Winstead said the CDBG funds have been proposed as a possible cut at the federal level, and he urged the selectmen to contact their legislators to say how the program should remain. “They are important to attract, retain and grow our local businesses,” he said.

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