BUCKSPORT, Maine — The town has taken the next step toward expanding its industrial park.
Town Manager Roger Raymond told councilors on Thursday that the town has sent out a request for proposals to design the road and sewer and water systems on a 20-acre parcel of land the town purchased last year. The parcel is adjacent to the existing industrial park lots located off Route 46.
Raymond said the town plans to create eight lots on the new parcel.
The town initially purchased seven lots in the Bucktown Heritage Industrial Park from owner John Wardwell, and established a program to offer free land to businesses willing to move to the park and create new jobs. Five of the seven town-owned lots are occupied by businesses, including food processing, plumbing and boat building businesses, which have started or moved their operations there.
The planned expansion on the 20-acre parcel will allow the town to continue that program, according to David Milan, the town’s economic development director. Milan said there are at least two businesses’ owners interested in locating on the two vacant, town-owned lots in the park.
Although business development activity has been slow in the current economic conditions nationwide, Milan said there has been a lot of interest in the town generally this summer. The expansion, Raymond said, will put the town in a good position for the future.
“When the economy bounces back, we want to be ready,” he said.
The request for proposals is for the engineering design only. The town has not yet decided whether to seek grant funding or to use town crews and funds for the construction end of the project, Milan said.
At Thursday’s regular meeting, councilors voted not to adopt a proposed, updated land use ordinance, opting to take a little more time on specific sections of the ordinance after residents raised questions during the public hearing.
Residents had raised concerns about definitions in the ordinance and about allowed land uses in the rural and downtown areas. Bonnie Blake Kline, representing a group of residents who have opposed a proposal for a quarrying operation off Route 46, raised concerns about specific sections in the ordinance related to quarries and made suggestions for changes.
Councilors debated how to respond to the concerns. Bob Carmichael noted the ordinance committee has worked for two and a half years on the new ordinance, and argued that the council should not hold up the whole ordinance because of the few questions that had been raised. He suggested the council adopt the ordinance as proposed and then deal with the concerns through amendments to the ordinance, if councilors deemed them necessary.
Mike Ormsby said he would have a hard time voting for the ordinance as it was presented.
“It’s hard for me to vote for something I know I want to change,” he said.
Others agreed and they voted not to adopt the ordinance and then unanimously voted to send it back to the ordinance committee to review the specific sections where questions had been raised. The ordinance committee will meet at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28, to discuss those concerns.
The council will hold another public hearing on those specific sections before voting on whether to adopt the ordinance.