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Saturday, June 25, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 25

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4/23/2014 2:00:00 PM
Jefferson Selectmen Say 'No' To Being Clary Lake Dam Backup
Paul Kelley, manager of Clary Lake dam owner Pleasant Pond Mill LLC, asked the Jefferson selectmen to consider being a backup dam operator in a water level maintenance plan for the dam. (D. Lobkowicz photo)
Paul Kelley, manager of Clary Lake dam owner Pleasant Pond Mill LLC, asked the Jefferson selectmen to consider being a backup dam operator in a water level maintenance plan for the dam. (D. Lobkowicz photo)
By Dominik Lobkowicz


Following in the footsteps of Whitefield, the Jefferson Board of Selectmen declined a request April 22 for the town to take on certain responsibilities for Clary Lake dam in an emergency situation.

Clary Lake is located in Jefferson and Whitefield, and is impounded by a Whitefield dam owned by Pleasant Pond Mill LLC.

The Department of Environmental Protection issued a water level order for Clary Lake in January requiring Pleasant Pond Mill to make repairs to the dam, maintain certain downstream flows and water levels in the lake, and other requirements.

As part of that, the water level order requires the company to submit a water level management plan by May 1. The plan must include a written agreement with a "secondary designee" willing to take over operations of the dam in the event of an emergency.

Paul Kelley, manager of Pleasant Pond Mill, asked the selectmen at their meeting on April 22 if the town would serve as secondary designee.

"In two letters? No," said Selectman Jim Hilton.

"Is that a capital 'N?'" Kelley asked.

"Both capitals," said Hilton.

According to Kelley, towns that own or operate a dam have blanket immunity for tort claims relating to the dam, but the immunity may not exist if the town serves as the secondary designee.

The board voted unanimously against Kelley's request.

Voters in both Jefferson and Whitefield have voted twice against seeking ownership of the dam from Pleasant Pond Mill in two statutory processes.

The Whitefield Board of Selectmen also declined to serve as a secondary designee April 14 after Kelley indicated he would not hesitate to walk away from the dam if he could find someone to accept the responsibility.

"If it's the town, I'd bail," Kelley said at the time.

In the meantime, an appeal of the water level order by Pleasant Pond Mill in Lincoln County Superior Court has been stayed indefinitely as land use mediation is attempted, Kelley told the Jefferson selectmen.

Along with his company, the mediation process could potentially involve the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; Art Enos, the holder of a mortgage on the dam; downstream dam and mill owner Aquafortis Associates LLC; and a major landowner on Clary Lake, Kelley said.



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