Planning Board Minutes
12 January 2016
Robert Jones, Michael Rossney, David Carter, Peter Neill, Patricia Egan. A quorum was present. Peter Atherton and Victor Smith were absent. Selectman Nelson Grindal and Darryl Brown were also present.
Duane Ford called Basil Ladd in order to be updated on the status of the Caterpillar Hill Initiative. He was informed that the three members of the Board with whom the Planning Board had dealings: Kelly Mitchell, Dylan Howard and Nelson VanDyne, are no longer on that Board. John Piot, Sally McMillan and Holly Taylor Lash have now joined it. The property is not in default. They still have the temporary permit issued by the previous Planning Board which is valid until May 2017 although no new work is apparent.
On the subject of the Strong Brewery, Ford said he’d received a letter from the Sedgwick town attorney. Neill stated that, given everything laid out in the Site Plan Review Ordinance, the Strongs are out of compliance. Ford said the Strongs are now looking for a new soil evaluator. There was a meeting with Brent Lawson, DEP, that included, among others, Duane Ford, Code Enforcement Officer and temporary Town Plumbing Inspector (previous inspector resigned), Nelson Grindal, Selectman. Mr. Lawson concluded that the Strongs’ change of use from the original permit required an updated design with a re-evaluation of the soil. All agreed that the Strongs must come before the Planning Board.
Darryl Brown, who owns 9.6 acres on Route 15 across from Tasha’s is interested in exploring the possibility of opening a small restaurant there that would serve alcohol. He discussed his plans with the Planning Board, acknowledging that, without the liquor license, it probably would not be worth his investment. He wanted to know what the next step was and members of the Planning Board, with some input from Nelson Grindal, said that he needed to read the Sedgwick Site Plan Ordinance carefully and, when he was ready, to come to a pre-application meeting with the Planning Board. Because the town was likely to vote on a liquor ordinance at Town Meeting in March 2016, Brown was encouraged to apply after that vote was taken so as not to waste time or money should the vote preclude the sale of spirits in town.
The rest of the meeting was take up with discussion of the Site Plan Ordinance with a view to clarifying its language and eliminating elements that do not apply to Sedgwick. Jones suggested that we needed to clarify the duties of Selectmen, CEO and Planning Board with reference to enforcement of permits and ordinances. The Board agreed to add a “Section F” to the plan which would outline the various duties and responsibilities of those involved with insuring compliance with the Site Plan Ordinance.
David Carter had some remarks about the sections related to the Fire Department. He mentioned that we might consider changing the wording of the requirement that buildings be no higher than 40 feet to 30 feet since we do not have the ladders to accommodate a 40 foot building. Rossney suggested that we include some wording that would allow innovative engineering for a taller building if that enabled our present equipment to function effectively. Carter also said that we needed to increase the load capacity of roads, bridges and culverts to 80,000 pounds.
Rossney thought we might consider changing the fee structure for large projects to a percentage rather than the low fee we now charge as it’s commonly done elsewhere. The Board agreed informally.
The Board agreed that the Ordinances stated purpose: “to reduce the impact” of changes and major development should be changed to the more positive “guide and manage” as the present wording implies resistance to development rather than a desire ro embrace it in a way that enhances the town.
CEO Ford, although having been previously requested to submit his written concerns, corrections, additions about the current ordinance, had none and said the ordinance should be entirely re-written. He said the selectmen had indicated to him that the ordinance revision should be done with the guidance of the Hancock County Planning Commission. The Board felt that a complete re-write is unnecessary, that the ordinance was basically good, and simply needs some format and language tweaking.
Ford mentioned the appearance of two unapproved parking lots in the town, the Blue Hill Heritage Trust one on Rope Ferry Road and the one with the school buses on Route 15. Some discussion followed on how to handle such occurrences.
Neill suggested a number of language corrections, references to insurance, issues of liability.
The meeting closed with a vote for a working session on the revision of the Site Plan Ordinance to be held at the Town Office on Wednesday, January 20th at 4 pm. Rossney was asked to edit the current ordinance for language before the meeting. There was general acknowledgement of the wonderful work done by Peter Neill on previous ordinances with an expression of gratitude.
At 9:30 there was a vote to adjourn.
Patricia Colling Egan