By MARIE HOWARD - DEXTER - A Dexter businessman, who sells sailboats and who is seeking to purchase town-owned shore frontage on Lake Wassookeag, will have to wait until January, 2003 before he learns which way the wind is blowing. However, he may get a hint of what lies ahead next month because the Dexter Town Council voted last Thursday, Nov. 14, to hold more discussions on the issue at its Dec. 12 meeting.
Stanley Russell, who owns property bordering Little Lake Wassookeag, owns and operates Russell's Marine and sells the latest in sailing craft. Facing opposition from the start and noting concerns from fisherman, who would be denied access to the large lake, Russell modified his original proposal so that the town would retain 150 feet of land abutting Fry Cove. Russell's new proposal concerns land bordering Route 7 up to the corner of the Shore Road. If the town approves, Russell plans to develop a marina with six slips at that site.
On Oct. 28 Russell sent a letter to the council stating he would like to have the property to access docking in conjunction with his sailboat sales and to allow space for a few rental slips as well as a place for local fisherman to tie up. At last Thursday's meeting Russell's proposal got a mixed review from councilors. Outgoing Councilor Doug Pooler said he could not believe there was so much opposition to Russell's plan. "Its been a swamp there for years and now someone wants to come along and improve it and everyone is against selling it. Two or three people I talked could not give me a reason why they are against it," he added.
Councilor Fred Banks said he received numerous calls from Dexter residents who said they were upset that the town is thinking of selling its shore frontage, adding, "The town should not divest itself of this property."
Outgoing Councilor Marcia Delaware said that Russell's second proposal, which leaves the town with 150 feet of shore frontage, is more desirable than his first which called for the sale of the entire plot. However, Delaware concluded by saying she believes the property should go out to bid. Pooler could not see the reasoning in going that route. "We know what Russell wants to do with the property, if it goes out to bid, we have no way of knowing what the new owner would do," he said.
Town Manager Robert Simpson informed councilors that the town attorney has stated the town can sell the property without going to bid, but only if the sale appears to be in the best interest of the town.
Councilor-elect Judy Craig, who assumes her new duties in January, was in the audience and questioned what would happen if Russell later sells the property should he acquire it. Craig was apparently questioning whether the property would or could revert back to the town, but no councilor addressed that issue. Russell told Craig that no one can predict the future, but stressed he plans to be around for quite a while.
Some questioned the depth of water required for sailing and other craft at the proposed site. It was stated the proposed mooring slips would extend 50 feet out into the lake. Dexter Code Enforcement Bill Murphy, who was also at the meeting, said that the state's Department of Environmental Protection would become involved in the proposed project for various reasons. Following lengthy discussions with no apparent concensus, Councilor Dean Thompson suggested holding more public discussions on the issue, which was approved to take place at the Dec. 12 meeting.
In other matters, councilors approved leasing a 70-by-70 foot parcel of land to Vertical Resources Engineering of Auburn, Mass. to erect a 160-foot communications tower. Simpson said at the conclusion of the 25-year lease the town will have generated about $45,000 in revenues and realize enhanced cellular phone communication.
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