FREEPORT – The Freeport Town Council and the town’s Shellfish Conservation Commission are scheduled to talk this week about duties that a proposed shellfish coordinator might carry out. The job could be filled by a part-timer, or might be written into Shellfish Warden Tom Kay’s job description.

The council is also scheduled to consider a vote on the Active Living Plan, which has been approved by the Planning Board.

The meeting, which took place at the Town Hall on Tuesday night, was held after the Tri-Town Weekly’s deadline.

Town Manager Peter Joseph said last week that he, Shellfish Conservation Commission Chairman Del Arris, Police Chief Jerry Schofield and Kay have discussed a job description for a shellfish coordinator in recent weeks. Last month, the Town Council allocated $15,000 for the job. The concept of a shellfish coordinator emerged as area clammers look for ways to deal with the green crabs, which are devastating the soft-shell clam population.

The Shellfish Conservation Commission first considered a regional approach involving nearby towns, and requested as much as $90,000. But the commission, concerned that bringing other towns on board would take too long, switched its request to a municipal position, and lowered the price tag considerably as the council’s budget deliberations neared an end.

The quest for a job description is in its early stages, Joseph said.

He said that the shellfish coordinator could work with the diggers on conservation efforts such as surveying, trapping crabs and putting up fences to keep them away from the flats. A clearer job description might emerge in the next few weeks, he said.

“We’re basically looking at the duties the shellfish commission is asking for,” Joseph said. “There could be surveys, stock assessments, conversation with landowners and supervising conservation digs. Does that mean we’re going to be trapping green crabs all the time? I don’t know. Most of what they’re talking about is conservation.”

Arris said he was prepared for Tuesday’s meeting with a list of priorities.

“The No. 1 priority is a very, very well-organized conservation program,” he said. “It’s got to be a coordinated effort for the Harraseeket River management plan.”

The Active Living Plan, put forth by the Active Living Task Force, is a comprehensive report, and a long time in the making. Intended to promote a healthy lifestyle in Freeport, the plan promotes bicycling, pedestrian plans and other outdoor activities.

“The Planning Board finds the plan is consistent with the vision statement of the Comprehensive Plan,” Joseph said. “If it’s accepted, with whatever language the council wants to use, it becomes a planning document of the town. It’s a reference that you use when doing town work. These are kind of big-picture ideas and a lot of little details, as well. Will there be an immediate 4-foot shoulder for bike lanes on the road? That’s not the way it’s going to be implemented. It would be step-by-step.”

There are wide-ranging estimates regarding the cost of implementing portions of the plan, Joseph said.


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