WATERVILLE — City councilors voted 5-2 Tuesday to sell a city-owned building at 10 Temple Court for $10,500 to three artists who plan to create studios and living space there.

Cheryl Cayer plans to work and live on the second floor and Janis Lazarian and Frank Della Famina plan to do artwork on the first floor of the two-story building, which is behind the former Al Corey Music store on Main Street and is accessible from Temple Street.

Corey used the building for storing pianos and other items.

Tuesday’s vote followed a long discussion about space on the east side of the Temple Court building for owner parking.

City Solicitor Bill Lee said the sale would include space next to the building, up to the first designated parking spot. Other parking for the new owners still would need to be negotiated, he said.

The city requires two parking spaces for the uses planned for the building.


Councilors Nathaniel White, D-Ward 2, and John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, opposed the sale under those conditions.

O’Donnell argued that the parking issue should be worked out before decisions are made about the sale.

“It sounds like you folks need to do some more negotiating before we vote,” said O’Donnell, an attorney.

City Manager Michael Roy said if the city gave or leased another space as part of the sale, the city would lose two parking spaces. City employees use some of the parking spaces in that area, and the Opera House has big groups and bands come three or four times a year with huge tractor-trailers that need to turn around there, Roy said.

“We have to make sure that turning radius is there,” he said.

People who work or have offices in The Center also use parking in that area, he said.


Cayer and Della Famina explained they need a new loading dock east of the building. Cayer said if they had a second parking space next to that dock, they could park one of their own vehicles in it. Loading items onto and off the dock could pose a risk, and no one else’s vehicle would be in harm’s way, she said.

“We also feel its proximity by the building would benefit the ownership of the building itself,” she said.

Councilor Dana Bushee, D-Ward 6, said the city requires the building to have two parking spaces and the city is selling the building. She asked if it is part of the city’s obligation to include two parking spaces in the sale.

“How can we sell a place that must have two spaces, but then say, ‘No, you can’t have the spaces’?” she said.

Council Chairman Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1, explained that the city ordinance says the spaces must be within 300 feet of the building.

“It does not have to be right next to the building,” he said.


White said his concern with giving up the parking spaces is that a business in The Center, for instance, could come and say it wants more spaces, too.

“It’s going to cause what I think is a headache for the city,” he said, to which O’Donnell added: “Bad precedent.”

Stubbert, Bushee and councilors Rosemary Winslow, D-Ward 3, Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, and Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, voted in favor of selling the building.

In other matters, the council voted to buy a pickup truck with special equipment including a lift from Hight Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Skowhegan for $98,668. The truck and equipment would be used for installing signs, doing traffic light and facility maintenance and annual street striping, among other things. Hight’s bid was the lowest of two bids for the project. Central Maine Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Waterville submitted a bid of $102, 364.

Bushee made a motion asking the council to approve the Central Maine bid instead of the Hight bid as a way to keep business in Waterville.

White seconded her motion, but O’Donnell said he didn’t think that would set a good example. Hight is not located in Texas — it’s in Skowhegan — and Hight has properties in Waterville for which it pays taxes, he said. Awarding the sale to a higher bidder sets a bad example and perhaps says to people in the future that if they are not from Waterville, don’t bid, O’Donnell said.


“I would oppose it,” he said.

Winslow noted it was not the first time the city has bought something from Hight, and the city buys police cruisers from a business in Augusta.

The council voted 4-3 to reject Bushee’s motion to amend, accepting the Central Maine bid. Stubbert, Winslow, O’Donnell and Rancourt-Thomas voted to reject the amendment. White, Bushee and Mayhew voted to approve it.

The council then voted 7-0 to accept the Hight bid.

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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