thumb”¢nail (thum’nail’)

        …2. anything quite small or brief,

        as a small drawing or short essay

Thumbs up to Wells selectmen for rejecting a huge rate hike in lodging and campground license fees last week. While the town may need to raise its rates, the proposal would have seen the lodging license fee triple ”“ going from $5 to $15 per unit per year, while the campground license fee was set to double from $1 to $2 per unit. The $100 cap in place would have also been removed. This would have been a major cost to the property owners in town, and doing it all at once like this could be a major shock to those people. If the town wants to move forward with increasing these rates in the future, it should set up a schedule to gradually increase the rates over several years.

Thumbs down to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling that paves the way for beachfront property owners to kick the public off of oceanfront property. Justice Ellen Gorman wrote the Supreme Court’s decision, which reversed a lower court’s determination that the public has the right to use Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport ”“ meaning property owners would technically have the ability to ask beach-goers to remove themselves from any privately owned area of the beach. This flies in the face of precedent that’s been set over and over again for years in Maine. While attorney Sydney Thaxter, who represented the Goose Rocks beachfront owners, said it will be a rare occasion for an owner to ask someone from the public on the beach to move, they wouldn’t have sued the town and appealed the first decision if they didn’t want the power to do so. Maine has a long tradition of maintaining access to beaches despite property owners’ objections ”“ and much of the state’s economy relies upon that access to the sandy shores. It’s unfortunate the court ruled this way, and we hope it does not have a lasting, negative impact on the public’s use and enjoyment of Maine’s beaches.

 Thumbs up to the Town of Kennebunk and its officials for working with property owners to resolve a right of way issue. A stone wall, which was recently erected along the frontage of 16 Grove St., encroaches on the town’s right of way on the street. Town officials met with the property owners to come up with a solution, which involves expanding the sidewalk in front of the property as well as the driveway there. The property owners will pay for the improvements. It’s always better when issues such as these can be worked out between the parties rather than decided by the justice system. Property owners should be aware, however, whenever they plan to make substantive changes to their property ”“ like erecting a wall ”“ they should check with their municipal code office to see if they need a permit or if there are any codes that may prevent their project from being completed or necessitate it being torn down.

Thumbs up to the Town of Old Orchard Beach for pursuing more ways for the public to pay for its services. The town now accepts credit cards for transactions made at town hall, and it’s also pursuing new parking meters that would accept credit card payments. As technology advances, more people will be paying with plastic ”“ whether it’s their credit or debit card ”“ or even directly from their smartphone. In an oceanside community like Old Orchard Beach, these changes are likely to yield positive results from the many visitors, and even residents, who visit the downtown, beach and town hall.


Thumbnails is a Monday feature of the Journal Tribune’s opinion pages. If you want to respond, feel free to write to the Readers’ Forum via email at [email protected] or by dropping your letter off at our Biddeford office.