Clifton residents strengthen land use ordinance

Ellen and Arthur Butterfield of Clifton, center and on right, listen to the discussion pertaining to the Clifton's land use ordinances during the town meeting on Saturday.
Ellen and Arthur Butterfield of Clifton, center and on right, listen to the discussion pertaining to the Clifton's land use ordinances during the town meeting on Saturday.
Posted March 20, 2011, at 6:36 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:54 p.m.
Paula Kelso addresses the residents gathered for Clifton's town meeting on Saturday. Among the issues discussed and voted upon were land use ordinances pertaining to future wind energy projects.
Paula Kelso addresses the residents gathered for Clifton's town meeting on Saturday. Among the issues discussed and voted upon were land use ordinances pertaining to future wind energy projects.
Peter Beckford of Clifton voices concern over the town's land ordinances during the town meeting on Saturday.
Peter Beckford of Clifton voices concern over the town's land ordinances during the town meeting on Saturday.

CLIFTON, Maine — The bulk of Saturday’s annual town meeting dealt with 14 amendments to the inch-thick land use ordinance put into place last June, and two involving the definition of a residence spurred quite a bit of discussion.

Peter Beckford, who is a member of the Clifton Taskforce on Wind and the closest neighbor to a proposed wind farm on Pisgah Mountain, said that adding a definition for residence that excludes hunting and other types of camps and changing the wording from structures to protected locations in effect “makes those camps worthless.”

Planning board member Bruce Jellison said to the 30 or so residents at the annual town meeting that the line Beckford and others were concerned about will be removed.

“Yes, we should have worded it different,” Jellison said. “We will take that line out of this ordinance.”

The line, which is part of the definition for residence, reads, “A structure intended as occasional, temporary living quarters; such as a hunting cabin, is not a residence.”

The wind energy amendments were created to clarify issues and make the land use code tougher, Jellison said.

“The thought here was to enact an even stricter standard,” he said.

After a short discussion about articles 32 and 35, residents decided to endorse both. They also endorsed 10 other land use code amendments specific to wind energy, as well as one that dealt with minor grammar changes throughout the entire land use document and one shoreland zoning change required by the state. A copy of the changes are available at the town hall.

Eric Johns, Planning Board chairman, said that removing the hunting camp line from the town ordinance would be placed on the board’s April agenda.

At the annual meeting, residents endorsed:

  1. Moving $190,000 from the unappropriated surplus account to reduce taxes.
  2. Moving $34,819 in state revenue sharing to reduce taxes. The revenue sharing amount is $11,994 less than last year, according to town figures.
  3. Municipal building expenses of $7,800, unchanged.
  4. Administrative compensation and expenses of $90,850, an increase of $7,380.
  5. Town expenses totaling $26,300, a decrease of $3,197.
  6. Professional services of $15,000, an increase of $250.
  7. Fire protection and streetlights, $24,500, an increase of $1,000.
  8. Waste disposal expenses of $66,433, an increase of $5,608.
  9. General road maintenance, $46,000, unchanged.
  10. Winter road maintenance, $78,000, unchanged.
  11. Organizations, $7,445, a decrease of $20.
  12. General assistance, $1,000, unchanged.

The meeting was held Saturday afternoon after the local election polls closed that morning.

Write-in candidate and incumbent Julie Clewley, who is chairwoman of the town selectmen, earned another three years on the panel by tallying 91 votes during local elections held Saturday morning, according to unofficial election results provided by the town clerk.

Clewley and board newcomer John Williams, who took in 80 votes, were selected by residents to fill the two open selectmen seats. They beat out residents Peter Beckford, who earned 77 votes, and Eric Jellison, with 37 votes.

Jessica Gray, who ran unopposed for her SAD 63 board seat, tallied 135 votes to earn another three-year term.

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