Woodstock considers hydrological study of Route 26 Roadside Spring
Woodstock selectmen Tuesday authorized the town’s Conservation Commission to seek a hydrologist to possibly study the distribution of underground water near the Roadside Spring.
The spring, on Route 26, has been a popular source of drinking water for decades. It is located on 3.5 acres of property owned by Mike and Kathy Giunta. The town provides for regular testing of the water to ensure its quality.
Marcel Polak of the BCC told selectmen he and Town Manager Vern Maxfield had met with the Giuntas that day. “We described a concern we had: What are the legal land uses surrounding the property – 500 feet away, 1,000 feet away – that could have an impact on the spring?” said Polak.
Noting that the spring is fed by underground water that can move in various directions, he said, “No one really knows how water moves. The issue is what if someone were to build a road or move earth – could that disrupt the flow?”
He said the BCC is proposing to put out a request for proposals from hydrological consultants.
“The process of putting out the RFP would solicit as much information as you would need to know from professionals if there really is an issue here,” he said. “They would tell us whether or not they could determine what might impact the spring, and how much it would cost to study. Then we could decide if we would accept the RFP – or find out a study can’t be done.”
Polak said the Maine Rural Water Association would assist the commission in preparing an RFP.
“We’re not asking for money now,” he said, “but it would be a perfect use of the subdivision account.”
The account, which may be used for land improvements, is funded by fees paid by developers applying for town permits.
“Everyone agrees the spring is a critical resource to the town,” said Polak.
After some discussion the board approved the plan, with the town under no obligation to accept a proposal. But Selectman Steve Bies asked Polak to try to get a ballpark estimate through the MRWA of the possible cost of a study.
Wind ordinance committee
Town Manager Vern Maxfield told the board that a sound level test of the Spruce Mountain Wind towers is planned for next Tuesday evening on the shore of Concord Pond, near the state park boat landing.
Some area pond residents have complained about sound from the towers.
On a related topic, some town officials at the selectmen’s meeting said they believe the town’s Wind Ordinance Committee has lost focus on its goal of preparing a wind ordinance, and are instead allowing themselves to be sidetracked by opponents of SMW.
The officials cited a recent public informational meeting the committee held, at which several neighbors of the towers complained about noise, either in person or through letters read aloud at the meeting.
Maxfield added that one committee member had asked people with complaints to write Letters to the Editor to The Citizen.
“I think they need some direction,” said Selectman Rick Young of the committee. “I think they’ve strayed.”
Resident Hank Forman asked if the committee could be dissolved “if citizens feel they’re really not trying to make an ordinance … Can we turn around and say, ‘You’re overstepping your bounds?’”
Bies advocated caution, noting that the committee’s meeting, which he attended, was its first attempt at such a gathering. He said most of the people present had objections. Bies said that while the committee might have perhaps have handled the situation better, “I’m not prepared to throw them out right away.”
The committee said at the public meeting that it plans to have an ordinance for selectmen by late September.
The board also approved a plan by Fire Chief Geff Inman to ask firefighters for whom the town pays for Firefighter I or II training to commit to at least two years of service to the town.
“We need to protect our investment,” he said. Inman said if firefighters transfer to another fire department before that, that town may be asked to “buy out” the cost of the training for any time remaining.
Selectman Ron Deegan said an annual contribution of $20,000 from Spruce Mountain Wind’s parent company, Patriot Renewables, to the town “with no strings attached” might be able to be used toward department training.
Inman also told the board of a simulated bus-accident training day planned for Oct. 13 in the area of the 4H Camp and Lakeside Road.
Selectmen met with engineer Jim Sysko and provided him information about the Lake Christopher dam so that he can prepare a proposal to oversee repairs to the structure.
They also approved the placement of a sign on the public wharf on Lake Christopher warning that the use of alcohol, drugs, tobacco and weapons is prohibited there.
Tonya Prentice was appointed to the BCC.
Maxfield also informed the board on several issues: the Community Lakes Association has received a $2,000 donation from Patriot Renewables to go toward milfoil control; the Maine Department of
Environmental Protection will inspect a site on the Gore Road Friday where 22 trees had been cut in a Shoreland Zoning area without authorization; and the new gazebo is being assembled on the town common.