ATHENS — Residents at a special town meeting Tuesday night will be asked to vote on approving a well for the Athens Corner Store on town property, to act on a proposed food sovereignty ordinance and to make the position of road commissioner an appointive one, not an elective one.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Somerset Academy.

Selectmen, in a letter to the town’s Budget Committee, said that the Jewell family, which owns the Corner Store, approached the town in the spring about their water situation. They currently are supplied water from M&L Auto, which also supplies the town-owned Grange hall.

“However, due to liability issues those involved feel it would be best for the Corner Store to have their own water source,” selectmen wrote in the Sept. 18 letter to the Budget Committee. “Maine Municipal Association advised the town that approval of a well on town property would need to go to a town vote bringing us to this Special Meeting.”

Selectmen said they were in talks with Peter Franklin, who owns a local building that has a water well, but those talks did not solve the problem. Franklin’s property once served the nearby Athens Community School with water until the school received a grant last year to drill a well on school property.

The school now has its own water source.


Tuesday’s vote, if approved by residents, will authorize selectmen to grant to H. Steven Jewell, owner of the Athens Corner Store, a permanent utility easement starting from the store property over town land and extending to land owned by TDS Inc., in a location to be decided by the selectmen for underground pipes and wiring to be placed either on town land or on land of TDS Inc.

The agreement would be in exchange for Jewell paying all expenses for construction and maintenance of the easement and water well and the expenses of providing water from the well to the Grange hall building on town land.

The easement and well also would provide water for the store and benefit all subsequent owners of the Athens Corner Store property, according to the proposal.

Athens voters also will be asked to adopt an ordinance to be known as the “Local Food and Community Self Governance Ordinance.”

Athens native, teacher and farmer Kassie (Moulton) Dwyer approached the selectmen in the spring with a copy of a proposed local food ordinance, which would allow, under certain conditions, foods that are grown locally to be sold without state licenses and inspections. Meat and poultry are not included in the proposal.

“A similar ordinance has been approved in many other Maine towns, and we agreed to put this one out to the vote of the town,” selectmen wrote.


Also on the Tuesday warrant is the question of electing a town road commissioner, or having the position filled with an appointment by the Board of Selectmen.

The resignation of Dwight Weese as road commissioner this summer prompted the question. Selectmen contacted the Maine Municipal Association for advice on the correct procedure for replacing him, which first has to be by appointment for the remainder of Weese’s term, which expires in March 2019.

The change, if there is going to be a change, has to be voted on at least 90 days before the regular town meeting in March.

“The selectmen are neutral on this change and can see pros and cons,” Selectmen Mark Munn, Chuck Rotondi and Guy Anton wrote. “There have been a number of people in our town suggest this change, including some of those who have an interest in being our road commissioner, so it will be interesting to get the town’s opinion.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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