GLENBURN, Maine — The town has scheduled three public meetings to discuss proposed changes to the land use ordinance that a small turnout of townspeople narrowly rejected in June.
“It was one of those off-year elections, so there was a very small turnout,” said Ron Harriman, Glenburn’s economic and community development consultant, in an interview Friday.
The June vote drew 125 residents to the ballot boxes. In the end, the changes to the ordinance were rejected by nine votes, 67-58.
The town wants to be more vocal about the proposal this time around, said Town Manager Michael Crooker, so town officials and committee members will be “taking it on the road” to allow residents and business owners more opportunities to learn about the proposed changes and offer input.
“We don’t want people to have the perception that this affects them negatively,” Harriman said.
The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at Harvey RVs, 2992 Broadway, Bangor. The next two are set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the West Glenburn Community Center and Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the town office.
“We’re trying to make as many opportunities as possible for people to provide input and start a dialogue,” Crooker said.
The current 12-page ordinance was adopted in 1987 and places the entire town into one rural-residential zone, with the exception of a 500-foot industrial strip along the railroad tracks, which means that most any type of development could be permitted anywhere in Glenburn, according to Harriman.
The 85-page proposed update, among other things seeks to establish a village district in the part of town that includes the town office and elementary school, a residential-commercial district, an industrial district and a rural district, along with a list of activities allowed and prohibited within each or allowed with code enforcement or planning board approval.
Crooker and Harriman said these changes would provide organization and structure to what’s developed and where it’s placed in town.
“If there was controversy, then it wasn’t apparent,” Harriman said, adding that the plan had few opponents during the meetings the town held during the ordinance’s development and leading up to the vote.
At the time of the vote, some in town complained that the plan was too restrictive on commercial and industrial development along Route 15, also known as Outer Broadway.
“If we don’t have the feedback, we can never say for sure what people were opposed to or what held them back from approving the changes,” Crooker said.
After the meetings, town committees will take residents’ input and bring the proposed ordinance back to the drawing board.
Crooker said that, depending on what the feedback reveals, the town could try for another vote during next year’s November elections. Depending on the amount of work needed, that vote could wait longer, he said.