Originally published in Castine Patriot, July 25, 2013
Proposed zoning changes take center stage
by Anne Berleant
On July 22, selectmen held the first of two night meetings scheduled to discuss proposed land use changes to be voted on at a special town meeting on September 23.
“When are you going to get information to voters?” asked Gordon MacArthur.
The 40 articles, mainly on land use changes, are posted on the town website, Chairman Peter Vogell said.
That wasn’t good enough for many attending the meetings.
“I don’t know why [the 14-page warrant] can’t be sent to each resident,” said Anne Farnham.
“It’s that important,” said MacArthur.
A second question raised was the source of the proposed amendments.
“Where did these come from? What are these warrants?” asked Ewen Farnham.
The warrant articles are the result of work accomplished by the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee’s zoning subcommittee—now disbanded, along with the CPIC—designed to bring the zoning ordinance in line with the comprehensive plan as required by the state.
A version of the ordinance stripped of the subcommittee’s controversial recommendations was narrowly defeated in the November 2012 elections; a revised version passed at town meeting in June.
Resident David Schoonover disagreed with the subcommittee’s findings. “Most [proposed] land use changes are not in the comprehensive plan. Most are no more than implied, at best.”
In addition, having the town vote on land use changes for individual districts—rural, village I, village II and village III—will divide the community, Barbara Griffiths said. “We are no longer going to be voting as a town, but voting on what’s for [our] own neighborhood, and that’s a shame.”
“I would hope people would vote for what’s best for the town,” said Vogell.
Town Manager Dale Abernethy said a notice of the meeting, with information where to view or receive a copy of the warrant, will be included in property tax bills to be mailed out next week. Residents may request a copy from town employees at Emerson Hall or view it at castine.me.us/reports.