After concerned residents voiced opposition to making the important decision about the fate of the Orland Village Dam in a town meeting, the Board of Selectmen has opted to hold a town vote on June 14.

Originally, this was to be decided at the annual town meeting planned for June 15. The Orland Board of Selectmen and Overseers of the Poor voted for this change at their meeting on Thursday, May 5, after receiving several calls from Orland residents who were concerned about deciding such an issue at a town meeting.

“Rather than have a few people vote on it at the June 15 town meeting, we’re going to put it out to all voters,” said Ed Rankin, selectmen board chairman. “That way it will be fair. All the voters who want to vote, it gives them a chance.”

Voting booths will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 14 at the Orland Community Center.

The ballot will have two options, and voters will be instructed to only select one. According to a sample ballot sent by the Orland Town Office, Option 1 will read: “Shall the Town of Orland vote to keep the Orland Village Dam and pay for associated costs?” and Option 2 will read: “Shall the Town of Orland vote to move toward removal of the Orland Village Dam by working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service and The Nature Conservancy to acquire available grant funding for dam removal and ancillary costs?”

Leading up to the vote, there will be a public forum about the Orland Village Dam held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, at the Orland Community Center. During the forum, residents will be able to weigh the options for the dam. Several speakers will present the results of numerous studies done on the dam and Narramissic River since 2011, talk about fish and wildlife changes and visual changes to expect with dam removal, and discuss the funding being offered to the town to remove the dam.

To learn more about the Orland Village Dam, visit orlandfutures.blogspot.com or call John Barlow, chairman of the Orland Dam Committee, at 469-3749.

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...