GLENBURN, Maine — Residents who rejected a proposed land use ordinance back in June voiced concerns and support Thursday night as town officials regrouped in the hopes of altering and reviving the ordinance overhaul.
About 25 residents, eight of them business owners, met at Harvey RVs on Broadway to listen to Ron Harriman, the town’s community development consultant, and planning board chairwoman Brenda Moody explain the proposals and offer their own comments.
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.
Some in town fought the proposal because they thought some of the rezoning would restrict homeowners and what they could do on their property.
“I already have my land. I’m going to do what I want with it — what I have to do to survive on it,” said Brian Hastey of Hastey Lane, which is off Pushaw Road.
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.
Hastey argued that if he wanted to expand his home business by hiring employees and building a warehouse or expansion, the changes to the ordinance might prevent him from doing so. He argued that the town was wasting its time by bringing the issue forward again after it was voted down in June.
“It’s been decided, and it shouldn’t be discussed and waste taxpayer money for at least 10 years until the next census,” Hastey said.
“This really is not heavy-handed at all,” Harriman said of the ordinance.
Harriman said the changes primarily were focused on bringing in new business while making sure those businesses don’t become congested or move too close to residences.
He said commercial district businesses would play a great role in decreasing the town’s tax rate.
The committee may take “baby steps” by considering the commercial district before discussing a village district, according to Moody.
She said a revamped ordinance and commercial district would help Glenburn draw new businesses to town by laying out guidelines for interested companies and providing incentives for them to get property in the district.
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. Because there was such a slim margin, the town wanted to give the vote another go.
This was the first in a series of three meetings planned to give residents a chance to offer comment.
The next two meetings are set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the West Glenburn Community Center and Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the town office.
Town Manager Michael Crooker said last week that the committees assigned to the land use ordinance proposals will take the residents’ feedback and, if changes are suggested, revise the proposal before presenting it to the Town Council, which may or may not reschedule a new vote on the ordinance for next year.