Annual Meeting 2018

The TPA annual meeting was held at the Taylor Pond Yacht Club on July 29, 2018 beginning at 7:00 pm. Forty-four members and 4 guests were in attendance. President Dana Little opened the meeting with greetings and a review of the agenda.
The minutes from last year’s meeting were unanimously accepted.
Review of the year’s activities: Dana remarked that the Board has been busy during the past year. Issues included:

  • Working to implement the action plan recommended by the engineering study we commissioned last year: We continue to work with the City and the State to make sure that appropriate measures are taken to help mitigate future flooding problems on the Pond.
  • Responding to a construction proposal at Lost Valley: We were made aware of a proposal by a snow-grooming machine manufacturer to build an industrial facility at Lost Valley. We engaged Joe McLean once again to do an engineering study of their proposal, which he found deficient in its phosphorous mitigation plan. There were also concerns about the potential negative effects of heavy equipment in the area, and noise and light pollution, among others. Ultimately, the company changed its plan and decided to build in the Industrial Park.

Petition to exempt watersheds: The Zoning Board had passed a special exemption of the current zoning law in order to allow the construction of the industrial building/business at Lost Valley, which is located in an agricultural zone. Barbara Mitchell researched options and prepared a petition that requests the City Council to exempt the Lake Auburn and Taylor Pond watersheds from that special exemption to the agriculture and resource protection zoning ordinance. We need at least twenty-five signatures; then, after three notices in the newspaper and written notice to abutters, the petition would go to the Planning Board and then be sent to the City Council. The cost for the petition would be $700: $400 to the City for the work they have to do to prepare for the consideration of the amendment, and $300 to the Sun Journal for the public notices in the paper.

Annual Loon Count Peter Durgin reported that on the foggy morning of July 21, he and several others participated in the Annual Loon Count sponsored by the Audubon Society. They counted seven loons, which perhaps includes three or four transients.

Email communications: Susan requested feedback from members about the number and content of emails they receive. She uses a new communication platform which makes it easier to send out notices, so the number of those has increased of late. Recently she was asked to send a notice to TPA members about an event that might be of interest but did not directly relate to Association business. Members seemed in agreement that the emails are in fact welcome, and that an occasional non-TPA note of interest would be acceptable.

Board of Directors vote: Five Board members’ terms expire this summer: Dana Little, Ed Gray, Larry Faiman, Donna Morin, and Kristi Norcross. They have all agreed to serve again and in addition, Jan Phillips has agreed to join. This slate of six directors was voted in unanimously. They join current members Susan Trask, Barbara Mitchell, Marc Tardif, Woody Trask and Bill Turner, whose terms continue until the summer of 2019. Dana remarked on the value of having a robust board with a diverse membership for best results in dealing with the various issues we face.
Water Quality: Woody Trask reported that, overall, the water quality remained excellent last summer. Michael Heskinen has been conducting frequent clarity readings in addition to Woody’s monthly analyses. This summer he has recorded the lowest phosphorous readingever!
Game Warden: Woody reported that he recently had a conversation with the local game warden. The latter stated that he has visited Taylor Pond four times this summer so far. The most violations have been the lack of boat registrations on board the boat. Many people have been able to produce the registration by going home and finding it there. The other major issue is the reports of people in canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards out at night with no lights. Some have also been informed that, in addition to life jackets, a whistle is required for all manually-powered watercraft. Secretary’s note: Maine State Regs dorequire the following:

  • A wearable PFD for every person aboard any watercraft; children 10 and under must wear one.
  • One throwable PFD for every motor-powered craft greater than 16’
  • For paddleboards: a PFD for each person, a whistle, and a light if after dark

See for the complete boating regulations handbook.
Financial report Treasurer Ed Gray reports that we have approximately $26,900 in the checking account and 117current members. Most people seem to appreciate the email invoices we have been using. Please continue to update him with any changes in your address.

Questions from members

  • Is there an update on the boat launch issue? For background: Earlier this summer the owner of The Campground, where most of us launch our motorboats, complained that too many people were not contributing the $5 donated fee. There were offers from some members to take up a collection, but he does not want a donation. He seems weary of having the only “public” boat launch and may close it to all but the campers at Sunrise. He also chose not to attend a Board meeting to discuss it. If the State decides to create a public launch, then we would be very concerned about the possibility of invasive milfoil.
  • What about swimmer’s itch? On Father’s Day, those who swam at the Yacht Club beach contracted swimmers’ itch. It was also reported from near Valview Dr, but not recently. Dana said that it is caused by a parasite that needs not only a duck host, but also a snail host to survive. It is very uncomfortable, but not dangerous. Shallower water is more likely to have it. It’s a good reminder to never encourage visits by ducks!

Maine Program: Fire Safety Susan introduced Kent Nelson of the Maine State Forest Service. Also in attendance were Auburn Fire Chief Bob Chase and Administrative Manager Sarah Hulbert.  Susan re-capped TPA’s collaboration with the Forest Service and the Auburn Fire Department, which culminated in June with a fire safety workshop and a community chipping day.
Ranger Nelson presented a slide show which educated us on how to identify and mitigate wildfire risks on our properties, and also to report on the results of the fire risk survey that was conducted around Taylor Pond last fall. The properties around Taylor Pond are identified as being in the Wildlife Urban Interface (WUI), where homes meet the forest. There are specific risk factors and recommendations for those living in the WUI.
The fall assessment included a 23-question survey of various random locations around the Pond. Some owners had requested a personal survey, which was also done. Others may request a personal survey as well.
A brief summary of results:

  • 95% of homes have only one access road
  • 35% of homes had no signs
  • 60% have less than 30 ft. of “defensible space” ; 30% have 30-70 ft.
  • 15% had a high rating for combustible fuel near the home
  • 30% rated high risk of wildfire; 65% rated moderate
  • 55%  exhibited combustible roof litter
  • Water availability was inconsistent
  • Response time: an hour or less by ranger; 45 minutes or less by helicopter

The complete report will be posted on the TPA website:
Ranger Nelson suggested that, while some of the above issues are not easily resolved, owners could focus immediately on three actions:

  1. Work to create a “defensible space” (i.e. the area around the home available for firefighters to defend the home.
  2. Reduce the amount of shrubbery and trees that are in direct contact with your structures. Pine trees provide better potential combustion than do hardwoods.
  3. Make sure that your property is well-identified. Post 6” house numbers that are clearly visible from both directions.

Although just a few property owners participated in the free chipping day, there will be opportunities in the future to do so again. He is hoping more folks will take advantage of it. The Forest Service has just created a new system for reporting current fire danger in the State:
Chief Chase was questioned about the availability of water around the Pond for fighting fires. He acknowledged that Auburn does not have a tanker truck for areas that are not served with hydrants (including much of the TP shoreline). It is generally not practical to try to pump water from the lake because the equipment needs to be within 30 feet of the water in order to work. Dry hydrants can be installed, but need to be serviced regularly, are quite expensive, and are tricky to engineer properly. When asked about year-round water in order to ensure hydrant availability, he said that the issue would be wrapped into a general survey of all the rural areas of Auburn in order to supply the best overall outcomes in the most cost-effective manner.
Dana thanked Ranger Nelson and Chief Chase for their presentations and information; the audience was most appreciative. The meeting was adjourned, and the two remained for a while, fielding individual questions from members.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan Trask, Secretary