2014-12-19 / Community

In the News

Special event zoning considered

Under a zoning ordinance change now under review by the Cape Elizabeth Planning Board, owners of residential lots 15 acres in size or larger could be allowed to host special events now banned in the town’s residential zones.

According to Town Manager Michael McGovern, the proposal was driven by use of Wentworth Lodge on Winters Lane by the Sprague Corporation for weddings and other special events.

“That doesn’t appear to be a permitted use in our ordinances,” said McGovern, at the Dec. 8 town council meeting.

The council voted unanimously to send the proposed zoning amendment to the planning board for review. Under the town’s so-called 90-day rule, the planning board will have 90 days, or three meetings, in which to conduct its review and report back its recommendation to the council.

“I know the Sprague Corporation plans to engage with the planning board,” McGovern said. “There will be maps available for everyone to see what else it might affect.”

As currently drafted, the ordinance would allow abutting property owners to stage a special event if their properties, combined, meet the 15-acre minimum lot size.

Single sort starts Jan. 1 in Cape

Sorting returnables will soon become a thing of the past at the The Bottle Shed, located at the Cape Elizabeth Recycling Center.

Established in 1992, the shed donates proceeds from bottles and cans returned by community members to a different local nonprofit each month. The only stipulation is that the organization benefit young people in town as its core mission, and that it provide volunteers to sort items for delivery to Madden Beverage in Scarborough, which processes the returns.

However, Jamie Garvin, chairman of Cape Elizabeth’s recycling committee, said volunteers have been hard to come by in recent years. The Bottle Shed has encountered competition from Hannaford’s CLYNK program, which has drawn interest from groups seeking to raise money because it allows people to donate simply by dropping off a specially tagged bag of returnables at the grocery store. No sorting or special trip is required.

In response, the recycling committee worked with Madden to institute a singlesort system. Starting Jan. 1, Madden will no longer require sorting on site in Cape, and will make more frequent pick-ups to keep unsorted bottles and cans from piling up in the shed.

“It’s a more user-friendly model,” Garvin said. “Groups will no longer need to sponsor a month and be there with volunteers. As for residents who leave their returnables to the shed, all they should notice is less of a mess.”

The town council approved the new plan at its Dec. 8 meeting. Also, because funding recipients will no longer get all proceeds from the month it staffs the shed, the council agreed to create a new three-person committee to oversee distribution of funds.

The new committee is expected to decide early in the year how proceeds will be divvied up, soon after the council names its appointees. Area groups should see an increase in their take from the shed, Garvin said, because Madden has agreed to waive the 10 percent handling change it assesses on donations.

Goal setting on horizon

At a workshop session scheduled for Jan. 5, the Cape Elizabeth Town Council will formally establish its agenda for the coming year, using a draft set of 22 possible goals created at a Nov. 20 meeting.

“We’re not going to just look at the goals, but pick four or five which we feel are the most important to discuss how we begin moving on them,” said Councilor Kathy Ray, unanimously selected at the Dec. 8 meeting to be council chairman in 2015.

One proposed goal for next year was to conduct a “comprehensive” study of the transfer station to determine what, if anything, should be done to confront changing traffic patterns and aging infrastructure. However, the Nov. 24 death of the town’s former public works director in an accident at the site has pushed up the timetable on that goal. The council created a special oversight committee at its Dec. 8 meeting.

Other proposed 2015 goals include:

 Find a use for the former Spurwink School after it

no longer is a temporary town library while the main
building is rebuilt.
 Secure grant funding to improve sidewalks and
pedestrian pathways.
 Determine options for improving intersections at the
town center and the Spurwink Church.
 Solicit public input on the fate of the former Goddard
Mansion at Fort Williams Park.
 Review the community services program with the
school board and decide what form it should take in the
 Improve access to Crescent Beach and Kettle Cove, and
update the town’s harbors report, last reviewed in the

 Review the speed limit and other
recommendations made by the town
center planning committee.
 Conduct a comprehensive review of
town ordinances.
 Overhaul the appointment process to
committees and boards.
 Establish a mediation program to settle
local disputes.
 Standardize note-taking and minutes
across town committees and boards and
develop an orientation program for new
 And, of course, identify appropriate
service levels while minimizing tax

Purpoodock secures permit

At its Dec. 8 meeting, the Cape Elizabeth Town Council unanimously approved a new liquor license for the Purpoodock Club, located on Spurwink Avenue, albeit one with a twist. According to Town Manager Michael McGovern, the new permit will allow the club, in operation since 1922, the ability to serve alcohol from mobile carts on the fairway of its 18-hole golf course.

– Compiled by staff writer Duke Harrington.

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