Westport Island selectmen announced at their meeting Monday evening, there will be a public hearing May 16, at the town’s historic town hall, beginning at 7 p.m., to discuss a citizens’ petition to sell the Wright house.
The house is located at the end of the Ferry Road, near the town’s public boat launching facility. The petition was presented to the selectmen at a previous meeting by Mort Mendes.
The selectmen have sent a letter to Town Clerk Gaye Wagner, instructing her to prepare a referendum question on the issue for the June 28 election.
The Wright property was formerly owned by Mary and Adrienne Wright. The couple lived and worked on the land for many years. They requested the town have first refusal to purchase the property after their death to allow the town public access to the water.
The voters approved the purchase of the Wright property in 2004. In 2010 after several hurdles, the landing was dedicated by the town, honoring its former owners, and was named the Wright Landing..
The Wright property, of two plus acres, and the house overlooking the Back River, was purchased for $567,000, The town received a grant from the Lands For Maine Future in the amount of $183,000 that was put toward the purchase price.
According to First Selectman George Richardson, should the house be put up for sale, only one half acre of the two plus acres could be sold with the house. Another concern is the well and septic system to the house would be located in the easement area. The house is currently being rented.
The selectmen are expected to express their opinion of the petition at the public hearing.
According to the selectmen’s letter to Wagner, the referendum question on the June 28 ballot should include the following words: “Shall the town authorize $5000 for the board of selectmen to 1) establish an easement, in accordance with requirements of the LMF (Land for Maine Future) Grant Management Plan for the Wright Landing to permanently protect access to the municipal boat launch and parking area; 2) To obtain an independent professional appraisal of the easement encumbered land and house site, and 3) To authorize the board of selectmen to put the house site and easement protected land on the market.”
The Back River Jetty Crib #6 that was damaged during the winter months was discussed by Wright Committee Chairman Art Ballard. The cost to permanently repair the damage has been estimated to be about $3000. Ballard told the selectmen it could be done for a lot less, and will present his plans for the repair to the board in the near future.
According to Selectman Gerald Bodmer, the Westport Island town report will be dedicated this year to the late Ben Crehore, a former selectman, and the late Ann Cavenough, the town’s former health officer.
Wiscasset Town Manager Laurie Smith will attend the selectmen’s meeting May 6, to discuss Wiscasset fees for the ambulance and transfer station services to Westport Island.
The annual town meeting will be held Saturday, June 29, instead of June 22.