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Lamoine Gravel Ordinance Work Group

Minutes of February 27, 2014

Selectboard chair Jo Cooper called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM

Present were: members Jo Cooper, Steve Salsbury, Don Bamman, Jay Fowler, Perry Fowler, Valerie Sprague, Richard McMullen, David Legere

Planning Board Chair John Holt, Selectman Cynthia Donaldson, Selectman Nathan Mason, Robert Christie, Jon VanAmringe. Unable to attend were Secretary Stu Marckoon and member Michael Jordan. (The minutes were compiled from the DVD recording of the meeting).

Public Comment Period – Jo explained the first 15-minutes are dedicated for public comment.

Selectman Cynthia Donaldson said she had proposed that the preamble stating the purpose of the gravel ordinance be put before the group. There were no further comments.

Process finalization – Jo said some submitted suggestions from Mrs. Donaldson were incorporated, but she had hoped to call it a work group instead of a task force. Jay asked what makes a difference. Perry said the name of the group could be changed to “work group”. There was no objection. Jo reviewed the process document with the group. It was noted that several references to task force need to be changed to “work group”.

Don asked why any minority opinion needed to be in writing, saying the majority opinion should also be written. David said he understood the group would discuss the options available. Jo asked whether the group wants a majority/minority report. A brief discussion followed regarding the format of report that would be generated for the Selectmen.

The group agreed the schedule outlined in the process document was a little aggressive and discussed setting a goal of May 2014 to come up with a draft report.

Jo read the issues from the process draft. Perry suggested making a list of other issues. David said the Conservation Commission had a quick brainstorming session and identified some topics, and asked if the group might want to add a comprehensive plan item. Jo noted there are written lists from Michael Jordan and Perry Fowler. David said the major topics identified by the Conservation Commission were environmental, financial, aesthetics and safety. He outlined several items under each category. He said he would get that put into a document and distributed to the work group. Perry reviewed items on his list, including setbacks, pit sizing, trucks entering signs, restoration, procedures and payments. There was a brief discussion regarding restoration. Jay made reference to the Miro pit and the fine. A discussion followed regarding the right of the municipality to conduct restoration effort on the land.

Jay said the large numbers being thrown out by some folks are exaggerated in the media, such as the number of pits, the number of truck trips, and the size of the pits. There was a desire to see a print out on the pits along with a location maps.

David expressed concern about the lack of ability to inspect the pits. Others noted that the Code Enforcement Officer inspects the pits annually. A discussion followed regarding restoration and the escrow account required in the current ordinance.

Steve Salsbury asked about the proposed amendment that is going to town meeting. The group reviewed a document from the Planning Board. Don Bamman explained that it outlines the process the method of collecting the money. Jo said there are questions of when payment should be collected. Don noted that it's difficult to document how much gravel comes out of the pits.

The group looked at a list left by member Michael Jordan who was unable to attend. The list noted the definition of gravel extraction may need work.

Individual Goals – The group agreed that it felt they had discussed each member's goals during the previous items on the agenda. Perry said it would be good to see the list at the next meeting, to digest it, and then go through them individually.

Steve Salsbury said his clients' points were spelled out in the initial assessment. Perry asked about setbacks from natural resources. Steve said that was new in the latest ordinance, and it's not clear what is intended. Jo said it sounds from the language of the ordinance that it's water bodies and wetlands. Steve said the Planning Board had different definitions from the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance. Perry said that seems to be a definition issue. Don said vernal pools are also a consideration.

Current & Past Ordinance Review – Perry said now that there is a list, that's the biggest part of the meeting. Jo said it's time for folks to do some homework. Don said the previous ordinance required site plan review, so the previous ordinance would not have all the criteria that are included in the new ordinance. A brief discussion ensued. Steve noted that the site plan review process was a “one-time” thing previously, and now the new ordinance requires going through the site plan review ordinance every three years. Jay noted that's very expensive and a renewal doesn't need to be a whole new process every time. He said the new ordinance doesn't have clear requirements based on opinions and is too hypothetical. Jo said there needs to be some homework on the Site Plan Review Ordinance.

Jay said he would like to understand why some folks who have lived here for years now hate gravel pit owners. He noted that looking at the bare mountain by the Miro/MacQuinn pit makes him angry because all the trees were cut because the setback rules were changed. He said it's hard to understand why some people don't want another pebble taken out of town. He said he has always tried to represent the viewpoint of everyone. A brief discussion followed on representation and the purpose of this group.

Jo said she thinks the group can feel comfortable about talking and listening to each other. She said it will be easier to generate discussion by having the issues list. There was a brief discussion about when to have the public comment period.

David asked about how far gravel operators can dig. Don said the 5-foot separation is the limit. David said maybe looking at depth restrictions might be something to look at. Don explained the goals of restoration, saying a good example of it is behind the transfer station. There was a brief discussion about the Miro/MacQuinn pit area.

Next meeting date(s) – The working group will meet again on March 20, 2014 at 7:00 PM. David is unable to attend on the 20 th and will supply written comments and a list from the Conservation Commission. The group agreed to discuss setbacks and restoration issues at the next meeting. The tentative meeting dates after March 20 th would be April 3 rd and 17 th .

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:14 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stu Marckoon, secretary