Rep. Deborah Sanderson will be seeking feedback at a meeting Wednesday night from Jefferson and Whitefield community members and town officials about how the low water level at Clary Lake has affected them.

Lakefront property owners have said the water level has been low for the last four years, but this summer, the water level has been lower than it’s been in recent memory. Frustration is growing among some with property around the lake as the state has yet to enforce a water level plan it issued to the owner of the dam impounding the lake more than 11/2 years ago.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Whitefield fire station.

Sanderson, a Republican from Chelsea, said she hopes to learn more about the situation at the meeting and to hear concerns from community members other than just lakefront property owners. She said she wants to know if the low water level has hurt people renting property or other businesses because of the decline in boating and other recreational options on the lake.

“It’s really quite devastating, some of what the low water has caused,” Sanderson said. “I’m sure it’s nothing that can’t be reversed eventually, should there be a resolution to the water level, but it’s going to take some time.”

The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a water level management order for the dam owner in January 2014, but the owner, Pleasant Pond Mill LLC, has appealed the order to Lincoln County Superior Court. Since issuing the order, which included requiring the owner to make repairs by last October, the department hasn’t enforced it.


A spokesman for the department has declined to say why the department hasn’t enforced the water level order on Clary Lake, citing the ongoing litigation.

Sanderson and the Clary Lake Association, a group of property owners around the lake, invited the selectmen from the two towns to the meeting, but it appears Jefferson selectmen won’t be attending.

Lynne Barnikow, Jefferson’s town clerk, said the town was notified of the meeting Thursday, and she doubts the three board members will attend. The Jefferson selectmen generally have “thrown their arms up in the air” when dealing with the issue, Barnikow said.

The chairman of the board, Gregory Johnston, didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

During a state process instigated by the dam owner to release ownership of the dam, residents in both Jefferson and Whitefield voted to not take over owning the dam.

Dennis Merrill, the chairman of the Whitefield Select Board, said he will attend the meeting if he’s available. He was expecting to discuss the meeting at a regularly scheduled selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night.


Tony Marple, another Whitefield selectman, also said he plans to attend the meeting. He said people in his town are frustrated not only with the water level, but also by the fact that nobody can seem to bring it to a resolution.

“This has gone on way too long, and it’s really unnecessary,” Marple said. “Too much animosity and not enough rationale in this thing.”

George Fergusson, a Whitefield property owner on Clary Lake and spokesman for property owners who petitioned the state three years ago to set a water level, showed Sanderson the water level from different areas around the lake earlier this month. He said the purpose of the meeting is to give lakefront owners a forum to air their grievances, to encourage town officials to take a more aggressive role in support of the state’s defense of the water level order and to provide Sanderson with information she can take to the department on behalf of the community members.

Sanderson, who represents Chelsea, Jefferson, Whitefield and part of Nobleboro in Maine House District 88, said, depending on what comes out of the meeting, she would like to put together a letter about the concerns and send it to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.