Garrett Reynolds pinches back poinsettias in September 2020 at Riverside Greenhouses and Florist at 169 Farmington Falls Road in Farmington. On Tuesday, selectmen approved a $90,000 grant to help finance a new greenhouse, expand the floral/retail shop and hire four employees. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser file photo

FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday night approved a $90,000 grant for Riverside Greenhouses and Florists and held a lengthy discussion about nuisance deer.

Garrett Reynolds began transitioning ownership of the business at 169 Farmington Falls Road from his father, Kurt Reynolds, in September 2020 and became the owner in January 2022.

In addition to the 2023 Economic Development Program Community Development Block Grant, a $100,000 loan and $60,000 from owner investment will be used to build a 2,400-square-foot, year-round heated greenhouse, expand the floral/retail shop and hire four new staff, according to information provided before the meeting. One requirement for the grant is to create jobs for low-to-moderate income people, the information noted.

Two full-time and two part-time employees will be hired, Reynolds said.

“How many are employed now?” resident Aileen Kennedy asked.

“Eight. Two full-time, the rest are part-time,” Reynolds said.


It is nice to see home-grown business expansion, Selectman Dennis O’Neil said.

In other business, there was lengthy discussion on recent complaints about nuisance deer in the area of Lake, Stewart and Sunset avenues, Eastmont Square, Granite Heights, and Perham and High streets.

At the July 11 Select Board meeting it was announced that Sarah Boyden, wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, her supervisor and the district game warden would attend the Aug. 22 meeting.

At the July 27 meeting, O’Neil presented a petition signed by more than two dozen residents asking if an ordinance against in-town deer feeding could be adopted.

Attending Tuesday’s meeting were Boyden and Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologist Keel Kemper, Game Wardens Avery Boucher, Cpl. Kris MacCabe and Sgt. Scott Thrasher, along with about 25 citizens.

Kemper said deer are a common problem for many communities.


Resident Tracy Williams said she and neighbors commiserated about the deer, the risk of tick-borne illness and wondered what they could do.

“So are there any success stories for reducing deer population anywhere?” Williams asked.

“There are a few, but it is a pretty steep climb,” Kemper said.

He said it is illegal to feed deer from June 1 to Dec. 15, and game wardens can talk to individuals and if it continues they can issue citations.

Kemper said he had only seen ordinances regulating duck feeding. If Farmington passed one for deer, it would be the responsibility of local police to enforce it, he said.

Also, Keeler said expanded archery season is an option for towns prohibiting discharge of firearms, which Farmington doesn’t.


An outspoken supporter of banning deer feeding, resident Rachel McClellan said she comes from a place where there was a $500 fine for feeding wildlife. Chronic wasting disease in deer is another concern, she noted.

“If we like hunting and we like tourism, this isn’t just about gardens,” McClellan said. “This is also about (deer) health, our health from tick-borne diseases.”

People feed deer corn — not normally part of their diet, she said. As ruminants, their bodies need to adapt over time, it’s unhealthy for deer, she said.

“People don’t understand what they’re doing,” McClellan added.

If chronic wasting disease shows up in Maine, there likely would be state regulations on feeding deer, Kemper said.

Walter Gooley, who owns a Christmas tree farm off Route 27 north of town, said he has had a big problem with deer the past two years.


“It costs $12 to plant a tree; two years later it is gone,” he said. A state program has allowed him to bag a couple of deer in January, but the population is so huge it doesn’t help much, he noted.

Kemper estimated Farmington has around 35 deer per square mile, compared to Isleboro, which has 100 per square mile.

Police Chief Kenneth Charles said deer feeding, other food sources, loss of habitat around the town’s perimeter and lack of predators are all part of the population increase. Contributing factors need to be identified, he said.

One example of loss of habitat is the 490-acre solar farm at 560 Farmington Falls Road/Route 2.

The 490-acre solar farm in Farmington is seen in 2021 when it was nearly completed. Sandy River Farm, lower left, at 560 Farmington Falls Road rents about 500 acres of farmland to NextEra Energy for the 300,000 solar panels. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

A few mild winters in a row is another factor, Kemper said. The state has almost doubled the number of antlerless-deer permits given out.

“Only about 10% of hunters are successful,” he said. About eight antlerless permits across the state are needed to tag one doe, he added.


Those shooting a firearm must be 100 yards away from a dwelling or have permission, McCabe said. Posted land is very prevalent today, making it harder to find places to hunt, he said, and letting hunters know they can use a property, getting permission from all nearby landowners could help.

Kemper asked if the town had a deer committee.

“The idea of having a deer committee seems interesting,” McClellan said.

Williams asked those interested in serving on one to meet after the meeting.

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