Glenburn sets public hearing on RSU withdrawal vote, delays accepting councilor’s resignation

Posted Sept. 21, 2012, at 1:16 p.m.

GLENBURN, Maine — The Town Council set public hearings for two questions that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot during its meeting Thursday night. The hearings will be held starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4.

One question will ask residents if they want their school to withdraw from RSU 26, the district it shares with Veazie and Orono.

In order for the withdrawal to pass in the November election, at least half of the number of residents who voted in the latest gubernatorial election would have to cast votes, and a majority of those voters would have to vote in favor of withdrawal. In Glenburn’s case, at least 970 residents need to vote in the election, according to Michael O’Connor, spokesman for the withdrawal committee.

Glenburn and Veazie voters heavily favored forming committees to explore withdrawal during special elections held in March. Members of the community who support the withdrawal bids have said the benefits of regaining full control of their schools outweigh the benefits that were supposed to come from merging.

Voters also will decide whether to adopt a new land use ordinance that would establish village, residential-commercial, and industrial districts.

Councilors and Ron Harriman, Glenburn’s economic and community development consultant, have said the new ordinance will allow certain sections of town to promote organized development while preserving the “town character.”

The current 12-page ordinance was adopted in 1987 and puts the entire town in one rural-residential zone, with the exception of a 500-foot industrial strip along the railroad tracks, which means that almost any type of development could be permitted anywhere in Glenburn, according to Harriman.

A small turnout of voters narrowly rejected a revamped ordinance in June 2011. The vote drew 125 residents to the ballot boxes. In the end, the changes to the ordinance were rejected by nine votes, 67-58.

Since that failed effort, the town has held a series of public meetings and been more vocal about the intention behind the ordinance.

“I feel a lot more confident this time,” Harriman said.

Copies of both the school withdrawal agreement and land use ordinance are available on the town’s website, glenburn.org, or at the town office.

In other business, the council decided not to accept the resignation of Councilor John Caruso. Caruso submitted a resignation letter on Aug. 28 stating that he intended to step down because he is attending school and classes conflict with regular council meetings. Caruso, who was not at Thursday’s meeting, said in his letter that he would be willing to stay on until the council found a replacement.

According to council rules, there needs to be a vacant seat on the council before a search can begin. Caruso still technically holds his seat and will continue to hold it until he names a resignation date and the council accepts. The council tabled the issue until Caruso provides a specific date on which he will no longer be a councilor.

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