China select board postpones decision on revised ordinances

by Mary Grow

At their Jan. 29 meeting, China select board members postponed decisions on submitting two revised ordinances to voters and on a Recreation Committee idea.

Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said the new Solar Ordinance and the planning board’s amendments to the Land Use Ordinance (Chapter Two of the Land Development Code) are in the town attorney’s hands.

The next steps are for the select board to approve final versions of the ordinances and hold public hearings on them before they are submitted to voters to accept or reject, perhaps at the June 11 annual town business meeting.

Board members needed more information on a proposal to authorize the Recreation Committee to offer kayak and paddleboard rentals. Hapgood said she and Recreation Committee chairman Martha Wentworth had discussed contracting with a company called Rent.Fun, based in Northville, Michigan.

For $39,000, the company would provide China with four kayaks and four paddleboards, with paddles. They would be kept near China Lake – beside the Courtesy Boat Inspectors’ shelter on the causeway, Hapgood suggested.

No staffing would be needed, as potential renters would use an app to unlock the board or kayak of their choice and pay the hourly fee. Rent.Fun and the town would split the rental income, so the town would earn back its investment.

Hapgood intends to ask Wentworth to get more information from Rent.Fun. She hopes also to get information from municipalities the company already serves.

Two guests brought messages to the select board meeting.

Jacob Poulin, deputy from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, reminded residents to lock their vehicles and hide any valuables left inside whenever the vehicles are parked outdoors. People have been breaking in to steal purses and other items, he said.

Erika Presley, senior land conservation manager with Edgecomb-based Midcoast Conservancy1, introduced herself and her organization, which owns 12.5 acres on the West Branch of the Sheepscot River off Dirigo Road, in China.

She said the lot encompasses the former Pullen Mill Dam2 site and showed a picture of the dam remains. Protecting the forested property is important for water quality and water temperature in that part of the river, she explained.

The four select board members present Jan. 29 made two unanimous decisions:

They authorized Hapgood to seek new bids on building a vault to improve storage space at the town office. The present plan is to have the vault inside a small addition on the south side of the west section of the present building.
They authorized the South China volunteer fire department to spend up to $8,000 from the fire department reserve fund to connect the fire station to three-phase power on Route 32 South.

The connection will let the department accept a gift of an air compressor from the Biddeford fire department, to replace its worn-out compressor. The compressor is used to refill SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) bottles for members of all three China departments. Hapgood said there is $150,000 in the reserve fund.

The manager reported:

About 130 residents have signed up for E911 identifying numbers for their properties; more are welcome. A form to request a number is on the website,, on the first page.
China is applying for services from the Maine National Guard for work on a section of Hanson Road near Evans Pond.
The roof of the large white garage north on the town office lot needs repair.

China select board and budget committee members will meet together at 5:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, in the town office meeting room, for a preliminary discussion of the 2024-25 town budget.

The next regular China select board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12.

1. More information on the Midcoast Conservancy is on its website,
2. Several on-line sites provide information on the Pullen Mill Dam, where a fish passage completed Aug. 21, 2011, was dedicated on May 18, 2012, in memory of Dr. Melissa Laser, of the state Department of Marine Resources.


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