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Lamoine Planning Board

Minutes of Special Meeting - June 19, 2013

Planning Board Members Present: Holt, Bamman, Gallagher, Donaldson, Tadema-Wielandt, Fowler (alt) Absent: Weber (alt)

Code Enforcement Officer - Present: M. Jordan

Members of the Public -- K. Gaianguest, J. Fowler, P. MacQuinn, S. Roiphe

1. Chair Holt called the meeting to order at 7:20 p.m. and explained that this meeting was called in order to address a single issue: Are there aspects of the current Lamoine Gravel Ordinance that members of the Planning Board wish to consider amending? Holt indicated that the Board would not reach agreement on any revisions at this meeting. If there were aspects to be considered, they will be examined more fully by the Board at future meetings after a full opportunity to examine and research them.

Members of the Board presented the following possibilities for revision (NOTE: these were presented as concepts only , not as detailed proposals)

  1. The 100' Setback/Buffer Zone
    1. Fowler stated that this was his “biggest issue”. We should consider the fact that a gravel operation has a Site Plan Review permit that establishes setbacks and that this permit exists for the life of the “use” for which the permit was issued. It appears to conflict with the setback portions of the Gravel Ordinance in this respect. Which one should dictate practice?
    2. Holt suggested two possible exceptions to the current setback regulation that would preserve the original intention to some degree:
      1. Level of Activity in the pit: Pits with less regular activity might be permitted to extract within the 100' setback as it would be less intrusive on neighboring properties and the community than larger, more frequent operations;
      2. Visual/Auditory Buffering: if an operator seeks to extract within the 100' buffer zone, the operator/owner must ensure greater visual/auditory buffering than the ordinance calls for now
    3. Donaldson presented the idea of permitting extraction within the “50-100'” area of the buffer zone if the operator/owner presented a plan specifically designating where that was to happen during the life of the permit and a plan to restore/revegetate that specific area when the current permit expired.

    Discussion about these also raised the possibilities of individually tailoring permits to the circumstances of each pit and the presence or absence of abutting uses that might require more or less buffering.

    Bamman also raised the possibility of limiting the acreage within a pit that can be “open” (cleared/under excavation) at one time, as the Lincolnville and Washington ordinances do.

  2. The Appeals Process.

Holt indicated that the appeals process in the LGO is “boilerplate” and, as such, would likely require the Appeals Board to conduct a de novo review. Since that would involve a full retracing of the Planning Board's procedures, such a review would often be unnecessary and unduly time consuming. We should revise to make the procedure an “administrative appeal” as is the case in most other Lamoine ordinances.

  1. Escrow Account.

Holt noted that the Town Administrator has suggested better ways to structure the Escrow Accounts of operators in town and that we should review the language in the ordinance with these suggestions in mind. In this respect, Bamman raised questions about the procedures to document how much gravel is extracted, suggesting that they be made more specific in order to provide more verification of extraction amounts.

In other discussion, Gallagher expressed his deep concern that the pending lawsuit regarding the Gravel Ordinance and a proposed new gravel ordinance (and petition to support it) make the Board's work more difficult and politically charged. Fowler, who proposed the new ordinance and the circulation of the petition, said that “the fact that we are discussing this [ie. revisions] is very encouraging. This would make me not go in with the petition. I've gotten everyone's attention and that was really the intent.” Gallagher and other Board members expressed the opinion that the Board should consider any revisions solely on the merits of the revisions themselves and how they would affect the welfare of the town.

Donaldson asked if the Town had received any written criticism of the current Lamoine Gravel Ordinance. Nobody present knew of any, save for the lawsuit brought by some gravel pit operators. The only specific aspect of the ordinance that is mentioned in the suit is the setback review standard.

Donaldson also asked if anyone present had other areas of concern about the current ordinance to share with the Board. Nobody did.

Holt moved (Gallagher) that the Planning Board will examine further the three areas noted above (#1-#3) at the regular July meeting on July 2. Vote: 4-0-1 (Tadema-Wielandt) Holt encouraged those present to come to the meeting with specific proposals and information regarding these three areas.

Adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Gordon Donaldson, Secretary

June 20, 2013