What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 29 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 32 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 32 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 41 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 42 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
3 years 2 days ago
More in News
Oxford Selectmen hear views on doubling height allowance
OXFORD – A public hearing on changes to the town's zoning ordinance, the adoption of a policy on marijuana distributors and revisions to the mass gathering ordinance was held before the selectmen's meeting December 16.
In the absence of Chairman Floyd Thayer, co-chair Scott Owens presided, starting with the zoning changes that would permit structures up to 65 feet high, replacing the existing 35-foot cap. Also changed would be requirements for set-backs from property lines or road right-of-ways.
When asked by one of the 17 or 18 citizens present if the zoning changes were being made solely to accommodate a casino-resort, Owens bristled.
“We are not here to debate the casino, or anything else but these changes to the ordinances,” he said, a statement he was to make several times during the hearing whenever the questions veered from the specific changes and their effect.
Terri Coolidge-Marin, a resident, objected to the issues being addressed in total and demanded they be addressed in consecutive order. Owens acceded to her request.
Coolidge-Marin then expressed concern that the town's comprehensive plan, amended in 2007, established an industrial district. She also pointed out her fear that zoning changes on Route 26 would allow development along the state route corridor from Pigeon Hill, through Welchville to the Norway town line.
Town Manager Mike Chammings pointed out that the comprehensive plan changes did not require state approval.
“We're not here to debate what was done in '07,” Owens announced.
Asked by another citizen why the change in building height was desirable, Chammings said a multi-storied building allows a smaller footprint, and thus produced less rainwater runoff and was significantly more economical than similar-sized single-story structures to heat or cool, thus conserving energy.
It also was pointed out that while the set-back changes brought requirement for motels into line with those for other buildings and were, overall, stricter than the earlier standards.
No votes were taken, as the meeting was a public hearing. A special town meeting will be held January 6, on enactment of the ordinances and changes.
Chammings explained this was being done, rather than wait for the regular, annual town meeting in June because that would be so late in the building season. The regular meeting is usually planned for May or June, toward the end of the fiscal year and to allow the school budget to be established first, due to its impact on property taxes overall.
Another reason for the special meeting was that several businesses were planning to submit plans within the next few months and an application for next year's Nateva concert would be submitted before the regular town meeting, as well.
When someone commented that the town was becoming more like a city, Chammings said the town could become a city any time the people wanted it to.
“We have, right now, the same population as the City of Ellsworth,” Chammings said.
The proposed changes to the mass gathering ordinance went unchallenged. However there were questions raised about the proposal to adopt an ordinance regulating the location of medical marijuana dispensary and/or growing facility.
It was explained by Chammings that when a combined growing-dispensing facility was proposed, the town had no ordinance at all. The state rejected the application, saving the town from holding a special meeting to hold a moratorium while an ordinance was developed. By the time the state application was refused, the town had the ordinance draft and would be well-served to enact it, should it be needed in the future.
One citizen questioned the legality of the ordinance's statement that only one such facility would be allowed in the town.
“Doesn't that sound like a monopoly?” he asked.
Chammings said there are pother types of business that can be restricted in that manner, such as taverns.
Questions about the hearing topics were declared over after about 45 minutes.
The board then took up its regular business.
A donation of $50 by Kennison Realty to the town's food relief fund was accepted.
The selectmen agreed that an abandoned mobile home at 22 Everett Lane was $2,480 in arrears on taxes, but the owners had apparently abandoned it. Chammings said they had left the area and were not traceable. The structure was in such bad condition it was unusable and contained nothing of interest to scrap dealers. Everett Excavation, which owned the land on which it was located, had agreed to dismantle it and cart away the debris and large amount of refuse stored in it, if the town absolved the company of assuming the tax debt. Chammings said if the town seized it for the taxes it would have to assume responsibility for removing it and cleaning the site, which could, he said, easily exceed the possible income from scrap. In addition, the town would become liable to Everett for back rent.
Robert Henderson said he wanted to look it over before the town decided, but Chammings said if the town didn't proceed to seize it, the hulk belonged to Everett and advised him to seek permission to view it from the owner. He added that the mobile home was in such bad condition that the town would have had to condemn it if anyone tried to occupy it.
“There's also well over a ton of refuse there,” Chammings added.
The selectmen agreed with Chammings assessment and voted not to seize the mobile home.