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Councilors schedule paper-street workshop for Oct. 30

The Town Council will hold a workshop at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 to continue discussing the future of three controversial paper streets in town, with an eye toward taking action at their next regular meeting Nov. 6.

The workshop is a followup to one held earlier in the month to discuss Surf Side Avenue and Atlantic Place, paper streets in Shore Acres; and Lighthouse Point Road, a paper street near Two Lights. Last October councilors voted to include them among 32 paper streets - streets that appear on subdivisions plans but never developed - in which the town would retain rights to accept as public ways. The town is considering the streets for possible greenbelt use.

The October 2016 vote met a council goal to decide which paper streets should be extended for an additional 20 years, as directed by the Maine Legislature. The topic resurfaced In July however after councilors approved, and later rescinded, a motion to begin vacating the three paper streets.

Councilors met behind closed doors with legal counsel at the start of their regular meeting Oct. 11, but agreed later in the evening that more discussion was needed. "I would be in favor of scheduling one more meeting between now and the November Town Council meeting to hash out what we heard (in executive session) and come up with a solution we can live with," said Councilor Sara Lennon. "I just feel like we need another conversation," she said.

The Oct. 30 workshop will be held in the Town Hall chamber, but public comment may be limited. The council's public participation policy limits comment to 15 minutes per agenda item. Jamie Garvin, council chair, said he appreciates all of the public input the council has received, but, "at this point I think based on some of the very specific things we've just learned earlier this evening that we do need to discuss collectively what our positions are," said Garvin.

Councilors are hoping to make a decision at the November meeting before the 2018 council, with two new members, takes office in December. Councilors Patty Grennon and Kathy Ray are not seeking re-election.

The November council meeting, normally held on the second Monday, was rescheduled to Nov. 6 to accommodate the Veteran's Day holiday. The council's annual caucus will still be held Monday, Nov. 13.