Section 5.3.1  Town Historical Background.

 

To better understand the Town of Frye Island and it’s evolution from farm land to a Maine town, the following development history for 1949 – 2000 is presented.

 

Development 1949 - 1964

For many decades before 1949, the Island was unoccupied and owned as one tract of land.  Modern day development started after the forest fires of 1947, with the purchase of the Island by John P. Porell for $10,000, followed shortly thereafter by the pre-arranged sale in 1949, for $5,000, of nearly 100 acres at the northeast corner of the island.  Dr. Joseph P. Earnhardt, a Westbrook physician, established the Frye's Leap Sailing Camp for boys on the site.  A mess hall and infirmary (now in use as cottages), a large recreation building (since destroyed by fire), a large storage building (still in use), and a number of cabins were built (only their concrete foundation piles remain).  Access to the camp was from the White's Bridge area, by small powerboats and a steel "barge" converted from a fireboat.  The first electric power line was laid from Raymond Cape, but communication initially was by 2-way radio.  Access by road to Rubb's Cove was finally obtained in the mid 1950's, and a ferry terminal was built there.

Starting in the 1950's, Porell sold a number of lots, generally less than an acre in size and widely spaced around the island, for use as individual vacation properties.  These lots are now in the 500 lot number series.

 

Development 1964 – 1989

In 1964, the remainder of Frye Island, except for approximately 14 acres at the southeast corner of the island, was purchased by J.A. Bowron and Gould H. Coleman, two New England developers with backgrounds in the development of summer resort properties.  They purchased this portion, about 900 acres, for $130,000.

 

Sebago Lake Shores, the development's name, was to be a completely self-sufficient community developed over a 10-year period of time and funded with $12 million dollars. The Island was "divided" into seven "estates of leisure": 1) Highpoint Estates and Highpoint Country Club; 2) Southcove and the Southcove Yacht Club; 3) the Sands and the west beaches; 4) Fairway Estates and Running Hills Golf Club; 5) Northwoods and the north beaches; 6) the Timbers and the Saddle Club; and 7) the Preserve and a Nature Sanctuary in the center of the Island.  To preserve the intended character of the development, a large amount of land was dedicated to recreational use or walkways and trails, and the deed for each lot sold by the development company contained strict covenants as to use of the land.

 

In 1965, an old Casco Bay Lines ferry began transporting prospective buyers and men and equipment for construction of the development's infrastructure and cottages. Lots sold for $3,300 and up. By 1966, lots were $6,000 and up and, by 1967, 31 cottages had been built and there were 159 sales contracts.

 

In 1968, the first ferry boat, Leisure Lady I, was purchased. In 1970, the Leisure Lady II was purchased. Both boats were built by Blount Marine in Rhode Island and remain in service.

 

At this early stage of development, operations of the island were funded by a $96 dollar per year annual charge, a charge, which each buyer was obligated to pay until May 1, 1985.

 

In 1969, the Earnhardt land, a parcel of 85 acres which included the summer camp, was purchased. The comprehensive development plan changed from 603 lots to 1304 and finally in 1969 to 1334 lots. By 1972, contracts had been written for 940 lots and conveyances had been made for 280 lots.

 

In 1968, Frye Islanders banded together to form their own landowner's association, the Frye Islanders Corporation. There were major reasons for this association: 1) to alleviate the unfair tax situation which existed between Islanders and the Town of Standish; 2) to deal with Sebago Lake Shores (Al Bowron et al) as a united group; and 3) to provide funding and to be an operating agency ready for ultimate operation and maintenance of common resources.

 

The Frye Islanders Corporation was a non-profit organization, which was the forerunner to Frye Island, Inc. By 1969 there were 70 paid members.

 

1970 was a landmark year in the history of the Island. A bill to transfer Frye Island from Standish to the town of Raymond was introduced into the State Legislature. Leisure Living Communities (Al Bowron's development company) came under a Temporary Restraining Order to keep from selling lots on Frye Island, due to the contention that soils and sub-soils on Frye Island were incapable of adequately dispersing the wastewater and sewage such a development would produce. The Standish Planning Board withheld its approval of the Frye Island site plan. The State Minimum Lot Size Law was passed. The good news was that the grading of the Island Golf Course was begun.

 

 In May of 1971, there were 143 cottages on the Island and 78 owners belonged to FIC. Al Bowron had died and the status of Leisure Living was up in the air.  By July, FIC had 91 members. The Association was still battling the Town of Standish for tax equity and fairness, and FIC was hoping to form a Village Corporation. Members of FIC were also concerned with the financial position of Leisure Living. In August, FIC met with Leisure Living and discussed the future of Leisure Living and the future operations of the ferry, roads, water, etc.

 

 In January of 1972, the Board of FIC met with representatives of Leisure Living. The Board was re-assured of Leisure Living's good intentions. By August, the FIC newsletter noted that Leisure Living was almost in bankruptcy; that the Court case between Leisure Living and the Portland Water District over phosphorous export from the Island to the Lake was still unresolved; and that FIC had requested that their attorney prepare two bills for the state legislature--one, to transfer the Island to the town of Raymond, and two, to make the Island an independent town.

 

By the end of the 1972 season, the Golf Course, named Running Hills, had finished its first season of play. The Geoffrey Cornish designed course opened with the completion of nine holes and a makeshift Pro Shop. In 1979, the course was renamed the Frye Island Golf Course. In 1980, 15 Islanders loaned $1,000 each to Frye Island, Inc. and a new clubhouse was contracted and built. 35 to 40 Islanders volunteered their time and labor and finished the inside of the Clubhouse.

 

By January of 1973, the legislative bills of 1972 were filed. More than 50 property owners attended the hearings on the bills. Both bills were defeated in April.

 

 By September, the court decision on its Findings of Fact on development on the Island was rendered. In March of 1974, the findings of Fact were issued as Superior Court Orders: 750 summer homes with separate sewer systems would not significantly increase phosphorous pollution in Sebago lake. The Court also ordered that all claims against Leisure Living for alleged violations of subdivision and site selection laws be dismissed. (See Section 5.6)

 

Discussions between FIC and Leisure Living continued during 1973 and 1974. Ideas for a successor corporation were discussed, as were concerns for cost of operations, obligations, assignment of rights, and enforcement. When succession should take place was not decided.

 

In 1974 and into the winter of 1975, another bill was introduced into the Legislature. This bill would incorporate the Island as a Village Corporation. Now, one theme ran between the legislative efforts and the succession efforts of FIC: how could the Islanders provide services to the Island and how could the Island have an enforceable service charge to operate the Island.

 

In 1975 FIC became Frye Island, Inc. and the state legislature studied a bill to grant the Island self-taxing powers. At the same time that the transfer of assets from Leisure Living to the Islanders was being secured and the new corporation (Frye Island, Inc.) formed, the State Legislature was reviewing the Act To Incorporate Frye Island Municipal Services Corporation.

 

The Frye Island MSC was given the power by state Charter to levy a property tax on all land and buildings on the Island and to levy assessments for public services as needed (i.e. ferry, rubbish, water, etc.). The MSC had the legal authority to enforce its tax collection through the lien process. The MSC had the authority to raise money through bonding. The MSC did not have the authority to write and enforce its own ordinances.

 

On February 12, 1976 title to all real and personal property of Leisure Living was transferred, free and clear of liens and encumbrances, to Frye Island, Inc. On March 26, 1976, the Act to Incorporate Frye Island Municipal Services Corporation passed the legislature and MSC was created. Frye Island Inc. continued to collect service fees and cottage fees until 1981 and MSC began taxing Islanders in 1982.

   

Between 1982 and 1984, the Island learned to self-govern itself. Between 1984 and 1988, the Island experienced unprecedented growth. Riding the development wave with the Mainland, the Island averaged 30 building permits per year. Increased use of the ferry led to more hours of operation, the use of the second boat on weekends, and the restriction of commercial traffic on High Season weekends. By April 1988, there were 306 cottages on the tax list. 43 construction permits had been issued within the past year.

 

In the winter of 1988, the Portland Water District implemented a unilateral freeze on the issuing of Subsurface Wastewater Permits (Septic Permits) to Island property owners. The PWD divided the Island into watersheds and allocated a certain number of septic systems to each watershed. This allocation limited the number of future cottages within each watershed and in fact closed down some watersheds to more building. Under the PWD analysis, the maximum number of cottages on the Island was set at 607. From fear of current and future mandates, which had been and could be unilaterally invoked, property owners rushed to secure Septic Permits and, if possible, began building.

 

During the Shareholders Meeting in July 1989, the decision to "fight" the PWD's assessment of phosphate export from the Island to Sebago Lake was made. The Island hired its own "expert" to study the PWD’s phosphate analysis. At the same time, the Board entered negotiations with the PWD to resolve this issue.

 

Beginning 1989, the members of the two Boards began to investigate a "better" way to manage the Island. The Boards envisioned a plan where a member of one Board could be a member of the other Board; membership on the Boards would be "integrated". Each Board held its own elections, an individual could run for membership on both Boards, and there was only history to prevent an individual from serving on both Boards at the same time.

 

Growth 1989 – 1995

 During 1989, there was discussion within each Board to develop a long-range plan for the Island. A five-year capital improvement program for the Island was developed. The results from the 1988 survey of the opinions of the Islanders on a proposed Marina became the catalyst for moving ahead with a Marina.

 

In 1990, the Island and the PWD signed a consent agreement, (approved by court order) which put the maximum build-out back to the 750-lot limit.  A phosphate “budget” was set up, which analyzed phosphate export from the Island on an island wide basis, not on a watershed basis.  By “tracking” the “budget”, the Island was allowed its “fair share” allotment of the total phosphate increase for the Lake.  This settlement with the Portland Water District was based upon the “best available estimates” and “analyses” and is still subject to future investigations and changes in Sebago Lake water quality.  Subsequently, in 1994, due to mitigating actions on the Island, the “tracking” method was stopped and the 750-lot limit became the only control criteria.  The Island continues to be monitored by the PWD and future growth restrictions due to environmental issues remain a possibility.

 

Between 1989 and 1994, many changes took place on the Island. The two Boards were successfully "integrated" (The same members could serve on both boards.). FII Board members were still elected for one-year terms; MSC Board members were still elected for staggered, three-year terms.

 

A five-year capital improvement program was implemented and refined. A new gantry system for the Island ferry landing was built, a new public works/golf course maintenance building was built, and new engines were installed in each ferryboat. A new rubbish compactor truck, a new one-ton dump truck, and a four-wheel drive pickup truck with snowplow were purchased. A new tractor and a fairway rough mower were purchased for the Golf course. The tennis courts at the Country Club were re-surfaced. The Country Club, itself, was renovated and turned into a recreation center and renamed the Frye Island Community Center.

 

A funding program for the new "marina" was initiated with annual fees charged for the use of the Quail Circle boat tie up area. A permit for the "marina", (i.e. Boat Basin Facility), was issued by the State DEP. The access road to the mainland ferry landing was paved.  Upon completion of a planning process, which actually began in 1987, a water filtration system was installed on the Island.

 

During this period, Island operating procedures were updated. Computers were purchased for Island administration, finances, and a golf handicap system. The weekly FINS (the Frye Island Newsletter) became a "desk top publishing" newsletter. Ticket sales for the ferry were brought into the Administration Office with bulk sales and discount tickets for property owners in good standing; cash transactions at the ferry trailer were reduced.

 

 A new solid waste removal system was implemented.  Brush disposal was limited in size and was chipped instead of piled and buried at the brush dump; recycling bins for glass, paper, plastic and metals were made available; and weekly household waste was picked up with the new compactor truck--reducing time and energy in collection, as well as trips off-Island to the Standish Transfer Station.

 

A Personnel Manual and Operations Handbook for Island Administration and a Policy Manual for the Golf Course were written. An elected Golf Committee with members serving staggered terms replaced the appointed Greens Committee at the Golf Course. A Real Estate Policy for Frye Island, Inc. land management was implemented. Islanders could buy privacy lots (lots sold with Deed restrictions which prohibited building on the lot), pump back lots (lots sold with Deed restrictions for use solely for septic fields), or to trade up lots (lots sold for cash and another lot traded in). The Policy also gave direction to the Board of Directors of Frye Island, Inc. for addressing land use values and questions.

 

A Recreation Program was developed at the Community Center and the schedule included the old stand-bys, Beano and the Annual Frye Island Road Race and Walk, as well as children and adult activities. The Community Center was open 60 to 80 hours per week. The season ending Labor Day Dinner Dance resumed with a sell out event in 1994. Potluck dinners were held at the Golf Course, and an annual "auction" raised money for needed items at the Golf Course.

 

Capital improvements on the Island occurred within the Frye Island Municipal Services Corp tax structure. Money was set aside in Reserve Funds for long term needs; operating expenses tracked inflation, except for specific project needs which were addressed on a yearly basis; and the yearly tax rate was kept constant.

 

In 1994, the total number of cottages on the Island was 364.  The valuation of the Island, which was set by the Town of Standish, increased from $12 million in 1987 to $27 million in 1994.  Land value was $11 million and building value was $16 million.

 

Secession 1995 - 1997

With all the change and progress over the years, the three themes of the early years were still intertwined in 1995.  $5,000 was budgeted for secession activities. The Island leadership would continue to try to introduce a secession bill into the State Legislature. Property owners on the Island continued to pay two property taxes--one to the Town of Standish and one to the Frye Island Municipal Services Corp.

 

Annual elections were held for each Board and these elections guaranteed checks and balances on common membership on both Boards. The Island continued to prove that it could self-govern itself, both as a private corporation, Frye Island, Inc. and as a quasi-municipal organization, Frye Island Municipal Services Corp.

 

In early April 1996, Islanders Joe Potts and Mark Thomas and the Island General Manger met with two representatives of the Standish Town Council and the Town Manager. The meeting was an introductory meeting with general discussion of the relationship between the Town of Standish and the Island.

 

By mid May, a formal secession committee was formed. Headed by Joe Potts, the committee had as members, Mark Thomas, Ernie Wrzesinsky, Steve Comley, Kathy Potts, Greg Tedford, George Brooks-Gonyer, Dick Giggey, Andy Broaddus, Bob Fogg, and Carl Hommel. On May 14, 1996, members of the Frye Island secession committee attended the Town Council meeting and presented to the Council the concerns of the Islanders and the desire of the Island to secede from the Town.  The Island Committee's position was that the Island had self-government through the MSC and that it was a matter of fairness, both economically and socially, to let the Island secede. The lack of "equal provision of Town services" created a situation of taxation without representation.

 

On July 24, 1996 the secession committee met informally in workshop with the Council. Despite not giving an endorsement from the Council, the Council did agree to meet again with the committee in August. On August 21, 1996, at a workshop at the Fire Station in Steep Falls, the Council met with 75 residents of the Island and the mainland Town. During the two-hour meeting, the financial impact of Island secession was discussed. It was pointed out that even the Town auditor agreed the impact would be minimal--approximately a $30 a year increase in taxes for a property owner with a $100,000 valuation. The Council put off a vote on secession until September 10.

 

On Saturday August 30, members of the Town Council met with Islanders at the Frye Island Community Center. Islanders presented their case for secession. On September 1, Councilor Richard "Baldy" Thompson became the first Standish official to speak in favor of Frye Island's secession from the town. "It's a lot cheaper to let them go...It's the only human thing to do".

 

In September 1996, construction of the Marina began with R.J. Grondin & Sons serving as the contractor. Bid proposals had been issued over the winter and Grondin was selected as lowest bidder. Five bidders came within $6,000 of each other.

 

By late October, the Marina was completed with additional riprap installed across from the Lake entrance. Over the winter of 1997, docks would be built and in May of 1997 the docks were installed for the first year of operation.

 

On September 7, 1996, the Island held a mock "Boston Tea Party". Costumed Islanders re-enacted the Boston Tea Party. Symbolic tea bales were thrown from the ferry as it was docked on the Island. A flotilla of Island boats cruised by the dock with signs of support for independence. Speeches were made on the Island’s right to seek redress, to direct its own future, and to secede from the Town.

 

On September 10,1996, the Standish Town Council voted 5 to 2 to remain neutral in the Island's bid to secede from the town. With this vote, the Island could proceed with introducing legislation in Augusta to allow the secession of Frye Island from the Town of Standish. State Senator Jane Amero from Cape Elizabeth, the Chair of the State and Local Government Committee, was quoted: " The fact that they would not be opposed, I think, would work to Frye Island's chances toward having some success in the Legislature...This is very different from other secession efforts. .... They’ve gone through the steps they've needed to, and it is much more civil and much more reasonable."

 

The resolution as adopted by the Standish Council set conditions: the council would neither support nor oppose secession as long as the Island did not ask for any share of the Town surplus and that the Island continued to pay their share of SAD 6 school costs. Also, that Standish be held harmless from any lawsuits based upon the secession efforts and that the secession come at the beginning of the Standish fiscal year.

 

Over the summer, the Island Secession committee met with local State Representative Adam Mack and gained a commitment from him to introduce secession legislation if the Town council did not oppose secession. With the council's neutral stance, Adam went ahead and introduced An Act To Allow the Separation of Frye Island From the Town of Standish. Also during the summer, the Committee hired as a lobbyist David Emery, former U.S. Representative from the state of Maine.

 

On April 15, 1997, the first hearing on the Act was held in Augusta by the Local and State Government Committee.  The Committee was no longer chaired by Sen. Amero. The Committee took testimony.  On April 28, at a second hearing, the Committee told the Islanders and Town Councilors to seek a compromise. The Committee recommended that the two groups discuss a tax rebate in lieu of municipal services. The Committee could not come to terms with the idea of a seasonal town--a town, which was not physically inhabited during part of the year.

 

On May 5, 1997, the Town council and members of the Island Secession Committee met in a workshop to try to reach an agreement on a compromise to secession. A tax rebate was discussed but there was no agreement on the amount of the rebate. The Council considered a rebate of approximately $25,000, while the Islanders asked for a rebate equal to 21% of the total taxes paid by Islanders to the Town--approximately $100,000.

 

On May 13, 1997, two days before the next State Committee hearing, the Standish Town Council voted 5 to 2 in favor of secession. The 5 members of the Council agreed that there would be a minimal financial impact to the Town if the Island seceded and that the costs of providing municipal services to the Island would be greater than the amount of taxes collected from the Island.

 

On May 15, 1997, in a surprise vote, the Committee on State and Local Government voted 10 to 3 not to recommend the secession bill. Member Senator James Libby of Buxton commented: "Both sides agree. I don't think we have the right to stand in the way." The members of the Committee who voted, “ought not to pass”, could not get past the idea that no one inhabited the Island during the winter.

 

On May 22, 1997, the bill came before the House of Representatives. During the prior week, the Secession Committee had met on the Island and discussed three options if the bill did not pass: 1) keep on fighting; 2) ask to delay the bill until the next session; or 3) give up.

 

Deciding to fight on, members of the Committee lobbied the state Capitol on Monday, Tuesday, and parts of Wednesday. Distributing pamphlets and flyers, cornering every Representative and Senator who came down the hallways, talking with anyone who would listen, the Islanders took their case directly to the individuals who would vote.

 

Steve Comley, a key Island lobbyist, said that he had spoken either personally or by phone with 107 Representatives and 30 Senators. A letter from Michael Seaton, Chair of the Standish Town Councilor, was circulated: "The Town supports passage of this bill, as currently written and amended. The various elements in L.D. 1216 are a result of many months of discussions and negotiations between town officials and representatives of Frye Island. Consequently, they are acceptable to both mainland Standish and the island. It is my opinion that the best interests of the town and island are served with this legislation."

 

Town Established 1997 – Present

On May 22,1997 the House voted 3 to 1 (110 to 33) in favor of secession. On May 23, the Senate voted 6 to 1 (29 to 5) in favor of secession. In a dramatic turn of events the Islanders had succeeded in bringing their message home.  In June 1997, in a ceremony held in the Rotunda of the state Capitol building, Governor Angus King signed into law L.D. 1216. (See Appendix 5.1).

 

On October 14, 1997 Islanders unanimously passed a referendum article to secede from the Town of Standish. 35 Islanders registered as voters in the Town and culminated 2 years of secession efforts with this vote.

 

In anticipation of the 1 July 1998 founding date, on February 28, 1998, registered voters met to hold the first organizational Town Meeting for the Town of Frye Island. Five Selectmen were elected to hold office until July 3, and Land Use Ordinances and Shoreland Zoning (the current Standish editions) were adopted. Independence was July 1, 1998. The first Town Meeting was scheduled for July 3, 1998.  Elected as Selectmen were Joe Potts, Oleg Svetlichny, Bob Fogg, David Lowe, and Greg Tedford.

 

On July 3, 1998, three Selectmen were voted for staggered terms. Joe Potts was elected to a three-year term, Oleg Svetlichny was elected to a two-year term, and Jim Kuiken was elected to a one-year term. The number was reduced from the previous five to three due to the limited pool of mature resident candidates.  The Warrant to establish a Charter Commission passed and a charter Commission was elected: Andy Broaddus, Bud Faulk, Watson Clark, Carl Hommel, Joe Potts, and Oleg Svetlichny. Appointed to the Commission were Pat Karpacz, Mark Thomas, and Fritz Mueller.

 

Andy Broaddus was elected SAD#6 School Board representative. A six-month Town Budget passed with payments due in two installments.

 

On October 10, 1998 at the Annual Budget Meeting, the Town Charter was passed. (See Appendix 5.2).  The first 12-month Town budget for FY 1999 also passed.

 

In late October 1998, FII, as owner, initiated the first phase of installing automatic sprinklers on the Golf Course was initiated. Three holes were wired and piped. In the fall of 1999, an additional four holes were upgraded. A new supply pump was installed and operational by the spring of 1999.

 

During the 1998 season and the 1999 season, the Frye Island Volunteer Fire Department was established.  A 60 by 40 foot metal sided, wood framed Fire Station was built by Islanders who volunteered their time and labor. In 1999, an individual Islander donated $7,000 for pouring the concrete floor. By the end of 1999, the Fire Department had three fire engines and one chase truck and had received a $12,000 grant from the state.

 

At the July 3, 1999 Town Meeting, Jim Kuiken was elected to a three-year term as Selectman. In accordance with the Town Charter, Board of Island Trustees members elected to the Executive Committee of the BIT were Patricia Karpacz and Mark Thomas to three-year terms; Dick Giggey to a two year term; and John Crosby to a one year term. FII granted an easement interest to the Town for the roads. The Town accepted them and voted to hold the roads as public easement roads.

 

At the next meetings of the Selectmen and the Executive Committee of the Board of Island Trustees, Joe Potts was elected Chair of the Selectmen and Pat Karpacz was elected Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Island Trustees.

 

At the October 9, 1999 Budget Meeting, the budget for FY 2000 was adopted. Road Use Ordinances also passed for use of golf carts, ATVs, mopeds, and any other motorized vehicles.

ATV usage was deleted in 2000 due to conflict with State law.

 

During 2000, efforts continued to enhance ordinances and to finalize the Town Comprehensive Plan.  Despite increased SAD and County budget impacts, the 2001 budget was developed and approved with no tax increase.  In elections for Selectmen and Executive Board, John Crosby replaced Oleg Svetlichny as Selectman, and Dave Decker replaced John Crosby as a member of the BIT Executive Committee.  Jim Kuiken became Chair of Selectmen and Patricia Karpacz was reelected Chair of the Executive Board.

 

In 2000, the value of the Island was approximately $31.3 million.  There were approximately 400 cottages with new cottage construction applications estimated at 27.  Frye Island, Inc. land value was $470,000 and building values were $439,000 for a total of $909,000.  Land values were $13,162,740 and building values were $17,582,668 for a total of $30,745,408.  The significant increase in potential cottage/home construction seems to stem from a new interest in second homes.  Actual construction in 2001 will clarify the potential for annual occupancy growth, which has averaged 4-6 cottages per year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 5.3.2  1999 Town Survey.

 

This section will be in two sub sections.  5.3.2.1 is a Summary of the 1999 Town Survey and highlights the responses to the eight key areas of the 1999 Survey.

 

Section 5.3.2.2 provides the results of the Survey in detail to include comments form the respondents.

 

Section 5.3.2.1  Summary of the 1999 Town Survey.

 

General Character:

There were three factors which stand out as very important to the residents: 82 % of the respondents marked ferry service as very important; 79% marked Natural Environment; and 77% marked the Tax Level. Of all the reasons listed, the most important reason was Natural Environment and the second most important reason was outdoor recreation. Rural character was also important.

 

Rural character was defined by 68% of the respondents as Forest Area; 59% as Crime Free; and 45% as Open Space.

 

The impact of growth was listed by both positives and negatives. The positive impacts of growth to the Town were: 81% listed Fire Protection; 58% listed Rescue Services; 56% listed Quality of Town Services; 53% listed Quantity of Town Services, Community Spirit, and Attractiveness of the Town.

 

The negative impacts were: 42% listed the Crime Level; 31% listed the Quality of the Lake; 30 % listed Property Tax. 

 

The four most important impacts of growth were: 33% listed Quality of the Lake; 12% listed Town Services; 10% listed Ferry Services; and 8% listed Police or Property Tax.

The concerns about the major impacts with future growth were identified as: (1) Property Tax;

 (2) Public Safety, which includes Fire, Medical/Rescue, and Police; and (3) Quality of the Lake.

 

The Survey  responses for this section  are summarized as:  (1)  Keep the Town rural and maintain its natural environment. (2) Protect the quality of the Lake. (3) Ensure the provision of public safety--fire, medical, and police services.

 

Community Involvement:

The Town has a nucleus of active and concerned inhabitants. 38% of the respondents regularly attend Town Meetings while another 36% have attended at least one Town meeting. Approximately 10% of the respondents participate at Town Board meetings and Club meetings.  However, despite the survey response, as noted in Section 0.3, the Islander’s primary interest is “rest and relaxation” and not extended community meetings.

 

The weekly FINS is read by 96% of the respondents and is the primary source for Town/Island information.  Respondents reported 44% read the Bulletin Board and 36 % use the Town website. Another 41% rely on Town mailings. 79% listed the FINS as the best way to publicize meetings/events; 42 % listed the Bulletin Board; and 37% listed the website.

 

For residents to express their concerns, 28% felt a letter to the Selectmen or BIT was the best way; 25 % listed meeting town officials during business hours; and 14% felt calling Town Hall were the best ways.

 

Interestingly, meetings have always been held on the weekends. Based on the belief that this is  when a majority of owners are on the Island. Yet, this is not born out by survey results as  31% of the survey respondents marked as the reason for not attending the meetings that the meetings were too long. 42% did not attend because they had guests. But the two Town Meetings in July and October are generally well attended.

 

Land Use:  

Rural character, maintaining the natural environment and quality of the Lake were identified as major concerns in the first section of the Survey. Land use becomes the means to ensure a positive impact on these concerns.

 

Because of the unique history of the development of the Island, all land has been laid out into surveyed lots, except for the 12 acres at the south end of the Island. Development is limited by the residential nature of the Island as well as the Deed Covenants.  (See Appendix. 5.4) Two commercial areas exist, one dedicated to the Marina and the other at the Island ferry landing.

 

95% of the respondents agreed that existing scenic and natural areas should be protected and preserved. To the question on the protection of natural resources, 79% of the respondents stated “most important”. To the question on protection of rural character, 57% responded “most important”.

 

In terms of development the history of the Island should be remembered . The Deed Covenants limit building on lots to residential houses and prohibit camping and mobile homes. 96% of the respondents were in favor of discouraging mobile homes; 89% were in favor of discouraging condominiums. A review of the following figure re-enforces the residential nature of the Town and its history.

Figure 1:  Location of Development / % Response

USE

Allow Anywhere

Confine to Specific Areas

Discour-age

Make Available

No Answer

 

Single family

 

52%

 

37%

 

5%

 

6%

-

 

 

Condominiums

 

1%

 

8%

 

89%

 

1%

 

1%

 

Mobile Homes

 

 

 

2%

 

96%

 

1%

 

1%

 

Modular Home

 

22%

 

14%

 

58%

 

4%

 

2%

 

Retail Stores

 

1%

 

35%

 

60%

 

2%

 

2%

Sit Down Restaurants

 

3%

 

48%

 

45%

 

4%

 

 

Professional Offices

 

 

 

31%

 

66%

 

3%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bed and Breakfast Inn

 

6%

 

14%

 

76%

 

4%

 

 

 

Campgrounds

 

        --

 

 

7%

 

92%

 

1%

 

 

Exercise Equip.

 

4%

 

63%

 

26%

 

5%

 

2%

Recreation

Centers

 

3%

 

73%

 

18%

 

4%

 

2%

 

Theaters

 

1%

 

28%

 

66%

 

3%

 

2%

Health/Medical Facilities

 

6%

 

55%

 

25%

 

13%

 

1%

 

Townhouses

 

1%

 

8%

 

89%

 

1%

 

1%

 

Respondents were divided in their response to the effectiveness of current Land Use Ordinances. 43% agreed that the Ordinances were effective; 16% disagreed; and 41% had no opinion. Of the 87 who responded, the majority responded that they were not familiar with the Ordinances.

 

The “get away from it all” attitude was implied in the responses to “how often you went into Portland”. However Islanders may visit other towns and areas on a routine basis.

42% responded rarely;

8% never;

13% occasionally;

10% once a month;

10% 2 to 3 times a month

Only 17% responded “once a week or more”. This lack of going into Portland maybe in contrast with the increase in the number of ferry tickets sold in the past years . It could be that more owners are having more guests come to the Island to visit, the golf course is attracting players or off island trips are not to Portland.

 

Natural and Cultural Resources

Three general themes came from the survey: land use by Islanders, perceived land use by off-Islanders, and quality of drinking water.

 

55% of the respondents would support a Land Trust to buy or receive land to protect it in its natural state. Another 32% responded maybe. 59% would like to see a system of trails, which would connect open space through the Town. Another 24% responded maybe.

 

63% of the respondents felt that their drinking water quantity had remained the same over the past five years. 14% felt the quantity had increased. 53% felt the drinking water quality had remained the same. 13% felt the quality was better.  These results reflect some of the changes to the water system over the past few years--filtration and the addition of new water distribution lines. The water system seems to be keeping up with growing demand, but must continue to meet mandated quality standards.

 

Town Services

Three questions were asked about recycling. 76% of the respondents recycle and 78% would support mandatory recycling. Respondents were split on how to provide recycling: 49% would continue to bring materials to the Recycling Area; 51% would like to have curbside pickup. Unfortunately, the Survey did not address either choice with a cost attributed to the choice.

 

Within Community Services, most services or  facilities were  rated generally very good/good. The services, which were recognized as “needing improvement” were: traffic law enforcement, library, ambulance services, police protection, street maintenance, and recreational programs.  Under that category street maintenance was the major concern.  However under a heading of “needing major over haul”, traffic law enforcement dominated.

 

When these services were rated with a cost attached, only the recycling program stands out as “to be developed” with a little increase in taxes. However if the services responses are analyzed by combining a “little increase” with “regardless of taxes” over 70% of respondents identified in order, volunteer fire service, Town rescue, 24hour Town police coverage and then recycling.

 

There were two concerns with use of the beaches; half of the respondents were concerned about boat traffic too close to the swimming area and boats and toys stored on the beach.

 

63% of the respondents would like to have a Saturday Farmers Market. This is interesting because over the past few years the Town Manager has tried to get mainland farmers to come over to the Island for a Market--with no success. In 1999,  Schwan’s frozen food service started delivering to the Island on Saturdays.  But this service was  discontinued in 2000 due to lack of interest but reactivated in 2001 due to renewed interest.

 

61% of the respondents marked that their participation in the Budget process was excellent or good. Only 32% marked excellent or good for the School District budget process. It should be noted that 1999 was the first year the Town participated in the SAD6 budget process and that representatives of the SAD came over to the Island and held a public hearing on the proposed budget.

 

Several specific questions addressed the Recreation Program/Activities, which was identified as needing improvement. Two thirds of the respondents marked that they used the recreation facilities “sometimes”. Approximately 20% marked “weekly” and approximately 10% marked “weekends”.  Of the “sometimes” users most respondents “used” basketball, the playground, volleyball, Long Beach, tennis courts, the pool, and the Recreation Program. The Golf Course was marked by 49% as used sometimes, but was marked by 16% daily and 25% weekly.

 

34% of the respondents marked “yes” to the “need for additional or improved facilities”. 28% of the respondents owned a golf cart; 50% would like (yes or maybe response) to see the Course expanded to 18 holes; and 39% want to have a baseball field on the Island.

 

Transportation

Road maintenance has been identified, as “needs improvement”. 52% of the respondents felt that there were dangerous intersections in Town that needed improvement. 57% responded that there are sections of the Town roads which need repair; 47% answered no. 63% do not want speed bumps on Sunset Road. 62 % of the respondents do not want the island ferry landing boat launch converted to parking. 64% do not want public transportation on the mainland.  The ferry system is the most critical element in Town transportation needs.  It is separately addressed below under Ferry.

 

Background Information

The questions in this section flesh out the demographics of the respondents to the Survey.

 

57 % of the respondents consider themselves seasonal residents. A majority of the respondents spend over 60 nights on the Island.  Data on seasonal “fulltime” residents was not requested in the survey and would prove helpful.   Over half of all respondents have been on the Island for 11 or more years. Approximately 50 % of the household adults are employed fulltime. Approximately 28% are retired. Approximately 60% of the household adults have a college degree or graduate degree. Another 20% have had some college.

 

Of the households, 83% do not rent. Of the 17% who rent, 24% rent for 2 to 3 weeks, 17% rent for 5 to 6 weeks, and 13% rent for 6 to 7 weeks.

 

Within the households, over a third of individuals are between 40 years of age and 59 years of age.  There are more individuals aged 60 to 70 years old than there are individuals aged 30 to 39 or 20 to 29. 45 individuals are over 70. Within the under 21 year olds, data shows that the largest group is 5 to 10 year olds followed by 14 to 17 and 11 to 13.  These demographics reflect the

Figure 2:  Age of Frye Island Inhabitants

Age

Number

 

Age

Number

 

Age

Number

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0-2.5

13

 

14-17

43

 

40-49

148

2.5-4

10

 

18-20

25

 

50-59

128

5-10

63

 

21-29

54

 

60-64

41

11-13

40

 

30-39

65

 

65-70

54

 

 

 

 

 

 

70+

45

concern for crime, law enforcement, and improving the Recreation Program and the concerns with medical and emergency services.

 

37% of respondents listed Massachusetts as their winter home, while 14% are from elsewhere in Maine, 12% from Connecticut, and 11% from New Hampshire.  Florida was listed by 10% of the respondents.

 

Ferry

83% of the respondents use the ferry 1 to 3 times per week. Another 15% use the ferry 4 to 6 times per week. 82% of the respondents use the ferry to go shopping; 4% to go to work; and 4% for recreation purposes.

 

49% feel the ferry service does not need to be increased. 21% marked maybe. Since the survey, and beginning in 2000, there has been a growing need for increased ferry service due to construction on the Island and a growing interest in property ownership.  This is further addressed in Section 1.8.1, Transportation/Ferry System.

 

45% marked “no” to increase ferry fares, while 20% answered “yes” and 30% “maybe”.

62% of the respondents felt that any fare increase should be assigned to renters; 49% felt the increase should be assigned to visitors, and another 47% felt contractors should bear the fare increase.

65% of the respondents marked “no” to operating the ferry 24 hours a day; 18% marked “yes”.

 

Individual survey comments are  found at question 55 of the Survey (See Section 5.3.2.2) and include responses to questions dealing with the ferry.  Unfortunately, the survey did not address the perception of ferry maintenance and safety of operations.

 

The Community Survey addressed issues directly related to the Town goals and objectives for the future.   No questions in the survey addressed the financial impact on the Town of the schools budget.  Question 27 only dealt with a citizen’s ability to participate in the school district budget process.

 

Concern on the Island now exists that the Town cannot handle the yearly increases in its share of the schools budget.  When the island separated from Standish and became the fifth sending Town to SAD #6, its share of the budget rose.  Taxes to support schools rose from approximately $400,000 to $455,000.  The fiscal year 2001 schools budget raises the Town’s contribution to over $500,000 or approximately 38% of the current Town budget.

 

The Town is addressing this tax burden in a positive and proactive way in accordance with State Department of Education guidelines.  The current goal is to maintain support to the State of Maine and local education system, but initiate steps to achieve a more fiscally responsible posture for the Town of Frye Island.  See Section 1.9.8 Education.