BREWER, Maine — Two issues involving subdivisions came before the City Council on Tuesday night, with one being defeated and the other — removing the council approval requirement for future subdivisions — passing, but not unanimously.
Before the vote, all subdivision final plans and amendments had to receive planning board and then council approval before moving forward. Now, they need only planning board approval.
Mayor Joseph Ferris, who submitted the proposed change, said the move “takes politics out of the subdivision review process” and would quicken the approval process.
Councilor Larry Doughty countered by saying the planning board is not an elected body and that “if we don’t like something the planning board does, we should be able to call them out on it.”
City Solicitor Joel Dearborn told council members before they voted that Brewer might be the only community in the state that requires subdivisions to receive approval from both boards.
Doughty was the lone councilor to vote against the change.
The other subdivision order, which was defeated, asked for a change in wording for future subdivisions and basically would have allowed developers to skip adding sidewalks if the area being developed didn’t have existing sidewalks.
During the meeting, the council also:
• Approved an amusement and liquor license for Larry Springer of Bangor, doing business as Starboard LLC, who is in the process of purchasing the Muddy Rudder restaurant.
• Renamed the Maple Street Field the “Corey-DeBeck-Morelli Field” in honor of George Corey, Shirley “Skip” Corey, Robert DeBeck and Louis Morelli, who dedicated years of service to Brewer youth.
• Approved a sewage rate increase that brings the cost of 100 cubic feet from $7.24 to $7.53, an increase of 29 cents. The change makes processing the first 1,000 cubic feet of sewage cost $75.30 for residents, and each extra 100 cubic feet would be an additional $7.53. Business customer rates increased from $86.88 to $90.36 for processing the first 1,200 cubic feet of sewage.
• Decided to train library staff to provide passport services to residents. The city clerk’s office now handles passports, but a new federal rule that goes into effect in May will prohibit them from issuing passports because they issue birth certificates.
• Gave accolades to the city’s police and fire departments for their work during the Jan. 29 propane leak at Irving Energy. Fire Chief Gary Parent said the Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments, which hosted around 40 displaced residents at Brewer Auditorium during the evacuation, also assisted. “It was a good team effort,” Parent said.
• Purchased a new street sweeper for $250,000 and a 2011 Chevy Tahoe to replace a nonworking police cruiser at a cost of $26,493. “This replaces a 2007 Crown Victoria that has 99,000 miles” and no working transmission, Police Chief Perry Antone said. “That car hasn’t been in service for several months.”
• Changed the monthly City Council meetings from 6:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
• Authorized borrowing $2,168,000 for equipment and projects for the coming year, including landfill remediation ($280,000); resurfacing Parkway North ($200,000); widening Wilson Street ($136,000); paving Pierce Road ($40,000) and State Street ($22,000); replacing a traffic signal ($10,000); adding a water interconnect ($170,000); adding water and sewer lines to the Brewer Business Park ($1 million); and buying a dump truck ($115,000), a sidewalk plow ($110,000) and a backhoe ($85,000).