WATERVILLE — The City Council on Monday will consider entering into a $400,000 contract with the state Department of Transportation and Colby College for preliminary engineering needed to start a discussion about whether to have two-way traffic on Main and Front streets downtown.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the council chamber on the third floor of The Center at 93 Main St. downtown. It was moved from its regular meeting time of Tuesday night because the South End National Night Out, a party in the South End, is scheduled for Tuesday.

Researching the feasibility of having two-way traffic on Front and Main streets was talked about during downtown revitalization discussions and prior to Colby’s building a $25 million mixed-use residential complex on Main Street. The council last September voted 7-0 to support a change in downtown traffic patterns that would make Main and Front streets two-way and include significant changes to intersections downtown.

Colby and DOT will each fund $200,000 of the $400,000 total for the preliminary engineering and other required assessments for the “potential conversation” of changing from one- to two-way traffic. The city is not putting money toward that work.

City Manager Michael Roy emphasized Friday that the council’s action Monday on the agreement does not represent final approval to change the traffic pattern, but it is a “big step” toward that eventuality.

“I just want to make sure that we continue to have an open process where people are aware of the discussion and the pros and cons,” he said. “My job is to ensure there’s an open process that people can participate in and let their views be known. It’s a policy decision on the part of the council.”


Though Waterville is not funding the preliminary engineering, technically it is part of the project, he said.

“It is our Main Street,” he said. “We don’t have the funds to participate, so Colby and the DOT are splitting that cost.”

In other matters Monday, councilors will consider declaring a vacancy in the Ward 3 council seat formerly held by Lauren Lessing, who resigned to move to Iowa. The council can decide whether to seek applicants now for the position or allow someone to be elected to it in November.

The council also will consider the appointments by Mayor Nick Isgro of Chris Rancourt and Alek Fortier to the Planning Board to fill vacancies left when Lauren LePage and Jessica Laliberte resigned recently. Such appointments are subject to council approval.

Julian Payne, a member of the Waterville Board of Education, originally was appointed by Isgro to be on the Planning Board, but the city charter forbids it.

“By the terms of our charter, he cannot serve because Planning Board members are paid,” Roy said Friday, “and the charter says that school board members cannot serve in paid positions.”


Contacted Friday night, Payne said he was happy that Isgro nominated him, but he accepts the charter rules and now will be able to focus on just the school board. Payne said he recommended Isgro appoint Rancourt when he learned he could not serve on both the planning and school boards.

Councilors will consider establishing an escrow account with Walmart for $29,932 to be used for redesigning the Waterville Commons Drive/Main Street intersection.

The money would fund engineering redesign to allow for two left-turn lanes from Main Street to Waterville Commons. Roy explained that Walmart wants to start an online grocery pickup service where customers can call or order groceries online and pick up their orders at Walmart, which is on Waterville Commons Drive. The city decided that would create more traffic congestion at the intersection and asked Walmart to fund a redesign of the intersection, according to Roy.

“They’re willing to put the money up so we can complete the design,” he said.

The council will consider authorizing a plastic bag ordinance to be considered in the Nov. 6 election. By city charter, the council can adopt such an ordinance or choose to send it directly to voters. The ordinance would prohibit some large stores from providing free, carry-out plastic shopping bags to customers, or selling them to customers. The ordinance would not apply to retail or commercial establishments with a retail space of less than 10,000 square feet, dine-in or take-out restaurants, cafes or bakeries or nonprofit organizations in the city that distribute food, grocery products, clothing or other household items.

A renewal contract with O’Donnell Lee P.A., Attorneys at Law, will be considered for city solicitor services. The proposed three-year contract would increase fees from $160 an hour to $175. The city has contracted with the law firm for 21 years.


The council will consider extending a lease with Gizos Energy LLC for the former city landfill property for up to one year. The council approved a lease with Gizos in 2017 as a proposed site for a solar farm, and Gizos is still committed to developing the site, according to the resolution.

Appointment of a marijuana study committee also is on the agenda. The committee would study current state law regarding all aspects of marijuana cultivation, distribution, sale, medical and other uses. Committee members are Councilor Nathaniel White, D-Ward 2, Jennifer Bergeron, Robert Vear, Luc Duplessie, Tom Ferris and Anthony George, with Roy and Dan Bradstreet, the city’s code enforcement office, as ex-officio, or nonvoting, members.

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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