AUGUSTA — A proposal by some Gray residents to secede from the town hit a potential roadblock Monday in the Legislature.

Members of the State and Local Government Committee voted 10-2 to reject two bills seeking legislative authorization to schedule referendum votes on whether residents on the western side of Little Sebago Lake and the Mount Hunger area should secede from Gray.

Legislative approval is required twice prior to the breakup of any established towns in Maine: after a petition has been signed by at least 50 percent of voters in the secession area but before the referendum, and then after the vote and a final attempt to resolve conflicts with the municipality.

The Little Sebago residents pursuing secession want to become part of Raymond, while the Mount Hunger residents hope to be annexed by Windham.

Residents of the area along the western shore of Little Sebago and the Mount Hunger area contend that their neighborhoods are so far separated from most of Gray that they often do not feel part of the community to which they pay taxes.

In the case of the Little Sebago neighborhood, police and fire services are already provided by the town of Raymond.

And residents of the secession areas say the distance from Gray affects residents’ access to town services and the length of bus rides for schoolchildren.

The 2.8-square-mile Little Sebago area has no roads that geographically connect to the rest of Gray but, instead, they connect to Raymond, prompting some to refer to the area as “Graymond.”

Mount Hunger Shore Road is a private road that is roughly 2 miles long, only 0.4 miles of which is in Gray. The remaining 1.6 miles are part of Windham.

But secessions are relatively uncommon and lawmakers have rejected most requests. And the only three secessions during the past several decades all involved islands: Long Island’s secession from Portland, Frye Island’s break with Standish and Chebeague Island’s separation from Cumberland.

“Town officials in Gray have tried to work with this group and I think the two sides should continue to work together to try to address these issues,” said Rep. John Madigan, D-Rumford.

Rep. John Spear, D-South Thomaston, was one of the two lawmakers to support the bills seeking authorization to move forward with the secession process.

“These folks are not looking to create a new town,” Spear said. “They are simply looking to join a town where they feel a stronger sense of community.”

The bills will now go to the House and Senate for floor consideration and potential debate.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 791-6312 or at:

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