Town of Lamoine, Maine
Town of Lamoine
Minutes of September 14, 2004
Draft Copy - Subject to Approval
Present: Brett Jones [Chair], Fred Stocking [Vice-Chair], Tammy Dickey, Bethany Hansen, Bonnie Marckoon, Dale McCurdy, Kathleen Rybarz, Skip Smith, Chris Tadema-Wielandt, and Jack Thibeault, Members; Jane Fowler, Perry Fowler, and C W Hemingway, not yet sworn in.
Others Present: None
Absent: George Crawford, Eliza Curtis, Dennis Ford, Mike Garrett [Secretary], H. Ray Graham, Michael Jordan, Lance Landon, Reginald McDevitt, John Wuorinen, and Joseph Young
Brett Jones, Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, called the meeting to order at 7:06, p.m.
Minutes of Meeting of September 2, 2004-- The minutes having been circulated in advance, Tammy Dickey moved their acceptance, and Bonnie Marckoon seconded. The vote was unanimous, with the members who had not yet been sworn in not voting.
Goals of the Committee— The Chair asked for proposals as to the goals of the committee. Perry Fowler suggested that the issue of a development moratorium was the most urgent issue. He reported on a visit to the Trenton Planning Board meeting. Trenton has a system of impact fees in place. The Planning Board imposes an impact fee of $2,500 per lot. This money can only be used for capital improvements like roads, school expansion or a new fire truck. He suggested that the committee should work on making a recommendation to the Town as to whether a moratorium was appropriate. He noted that impact fees don’t seem to upset people in Trenton and they certainly don’t bring development to a halt.
Jack Thibeault said that he thought that method of raising money for Town needs was a good idea. Fred Stocking noted that impact fees have to have a solid basis and can’t be arbitrary. Perry Fowler noted that the actual fee calculation was complex and the members of the Trenton Planning Board had trouble explaining it. Bethany Hansen noted that Trenton had an expanding school population in contrast to Lamoine’s declining enrollment.
Fred Stocking offered as another goal making a recommendation to the Town as to whether or not to embark on a revision of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. In response to a question from Bethany Hansen as to what arguments there were against updating the Comprehensive Plan, Fred Stocking noted that the Conservation Commission had held a forum on the subject last February and heard that there might be several drawbacks, including state interference, the tendency of such plans to be so general as to be of minimal value and the need for the expense of a planning consultant.
Jane Fowler urged that the issue of a moratorium should be dealt with promptly because while the committee meets developers are planning new subdivisions for Lamoine. There was general support for the concept of working on a moratorium. Skip Smith noted that since a moratorium can only be for six months (renewable for six more) it was important to make sure that the Town was prepared to make progress on ordinances before launching a moratorium period. Jack Thibeault, Jane Fowler and Skip Smith discussed the fire hazard caused by the ice storm and forest cutting in Town.
Brett Jones suggested that a motion as to adoption of a development moratorium as a short-term goal of the committee was in order. Bonnie Marckoon moved: That the long-range Planning Committee adopt a short-term goal of considering a development moratorium and making a recommendation on such a moratorium to the Selectman. Fred Stocking seconded the Motion.
There was a brief discussion of the Motion. Fred Stocking noted that among the issues the committee would need to work on if the Motion passed was what would be subject to a moratorium— building permits? Subdivision applications?
The Motion carried by a vote of nine in favor and none opposed. Those members who had not been sworn in did not participate in the vote.
Brett Jones said one of his priorities was to get adequate water supply for fire fighting required in each new development. Skip Smith suggested that this could be included in the moratorium proposal. He noted that there is already a requirement for commercial development in town for an adequate water supply for fire fighting. Brett Jones said that he would like a town vote on extending that requirement to residential development.
Perry Fowler asked if any long-range topic was off limits. He suggested that the term “long range” needed definition. He specifically asked whether we should consider school issues. He noted that there are lots of other town committees responsible for planning for various aspects of town business. Fred Stocking said that he thought it was important that this committee look at the relationship between the declining school population and development policies. He suggested that the town might have to promote housing affordable to families with young children in order to maintain its school. Jane Fowler noted that families with school age children were a drain on tax dollars and that if the school population declined, new options would open up. Bonnie Marckoon described the current efforts of the school committee to get state funding for school renovations and expansion.
Perry Fowler noted that the Public Works Study Committee was looking into a salt/sand storage facility. He said the town had a fund for the building of such a facility, which might save the town money on snowplowing.
Bethany Hansen suggested that the committee set a long-range goal of developing a vision for the Town and getting it out to people. Fred Stocking said that he agreed, but thought that the goal might be to get a wide range of people to participate in developing that vision. There was a brief discussion of what was “long range,” with some people suggesting 20 years, and others expressing the view that it should be ten years, since anything beyond that was too speculative.
Brett Jones asked how Trenton had gotten Hinckley to locate in Town. Perry Fowler said that Trenton had established an industrial park to facilitate recruitment. They bought the land, added some infrastructure and then, probably, sold it to Hinckley. Fred Stocking noted that this was a way for a town to guide development without restricting what a landowner could do with his property.
Jane Fowler noted the proliferation of trailers in Town, generally not in subdivisions. Skip Smith noted that Lamoine was mostly a high-end market and in subdivisions the developers put on restrictive covenants to make sure they looked nice. Jane Fowler said she had nothing against trailers as affordable housing, but in many cases a small screening of trees could greatly improve the appearance of the neighborhood.
Brett Jones asked C W Hemingway what the concerns of the Lamoine Historical Society are. C W Hemingway replied that he was new to the Historical Society and had agreed to sit on these meetings to keep in touch. He reported that the Historical Society was working hard to catalogue and preserve its collection, but that future issues certainly included the future of the Meeting House and the possibility of a new building to house collections.
Kathleen Rybarz raised the issue of the future of agriculture in Lamoine. Brett Jones said that the agricultural lands added to the character of the Town. Jane Fowler expressed the view that the former Pinkham farm lands were not buildable. Fred Stocking expressed skepticism about whether this would last, stating “Where there’s a view there’s a way.”
Brett Jones asked for other possible issues for the committee’s consideration. Dale McCurdy suggested a look at the 2000 census, which tends to show that there are lots of older folks moving to Town. Fred Stocking suggested that looking at the effect of the Palesky tax cap on Town finances might be a short-term goal. Perry indicated that the Selectmen might do something along these lines and the consensus was that they were a more appropriate body to do this work. Dale McCurdy expressed concern about those people who advocate for the abolition of Town Meeting.
Kathleen Rybarz suggested that we consider a questionnaire about the future of the Town to be circulated among townspeople. Others thought that it would be difficult to get much of a response. Brett Jones pointed out that the College of the Atlantic class offered to help us with designing a questionnaire. Kathleen pointed out that we might be able to increase the response by doing the questionnaire as a telephone project.
The Committee did some planning for its meeting on September 28th, 2004, also at the Lamoine School. Fred Stocking agreed to come with the moratorium law and a list of the factors to be considered. He asked anyone with contacts in a Town that had recently proposed such a moratorium to get in touch with him.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Fred Stocking, Vice-Chair and
Maine Revised Statutes Title 30-A, section 4356 “Moratoria”
Maine Revised Statutes Title 30-A, section 4354 “Impact Fees”
Revised Statutes Title 30-A, section 4360 “Rate of Growth Ordinances”