News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, March 15, 2012
Public hearing will address revising Castine zoning ordinance

Click here to see the full Castine Zoning Archive.

by Anne Berleant

The Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee zoning subcommittee met on March 12 to set an agenda for a public hearing and to continue its work on revising the zoning ordinance.

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 26, 7 p.m., at Emerson Hall.

The zoning ordinance is the only item on the agenda, said subcommittee member Scott Vogell, “with the understanding that we’ll probably end up discussing the subdivision ordinance.”

Members agreed to ask zoning consultant Rich Rothe, of Rothe Associates, to attend the hearing to listen to public comments on the ordinance “so he understands what he’s up against,” said Parish.

Town Manager Dale Abernethy agreed. “[He’ll] be in a better position to advise the committee.”

Citizen Julie Van de Graaf, after asking permission to speak, suggested the hearing should help people understand the ordinance, and use diagrams to help explain the main issues underlying the revision and what they mean. By doing so, “going forward will be a lot easier,” she said.

The subcommittee will not have any drafts of a revised ordinance available at the hearing as they are still in the beginning stages and want to hear public comments first.

“My hope is that [the hearing] will be on public concerns,” chairman Bob Friedlander said, when contacted by phone.

Friedlander called the subdivision ordinance “a done deal,” and said it had already been submitted to town attorney Geoffrey Hole for review. He was out of town for the weekly work session.

Members also welcomed Doug Koos to the zoning subcommittee. At a March 5 selectmen’s meeting, he had questioned enlarging the subcommittee for better off-neck representation and subsequently was invited on board.

He joins Friedlander, Vogell, Liz Parish and Lynn Parsons.

The zoning subcommittee works under the auspices of the CPIC, a municipal board formed to put the town’s comprehensive plan into action.

The subcommittee then moved on to discuss changes to Article 1.4, Purposes.

The purpose section should describe what’s going to come ahead in the ordinance, said Vogell. As it stands, it “was something you could bring up at a planning board hearing as law.”

He added that section 1.4.7 as written made it possible to use the planning board for determinations that “I think should be [under the] CEO.”

Article 1.4.7 reads: “To protect property rights and values by balancing the right of landowners to use their land, with the rights of abutting and neighboring landowners to enjoy their properties without unreasonable disturbance from abutting or neighboring uses.”

The subcommittee removed the article.

Friedlander said one of the “most discussed” changes the subcommittee is discussing is the “role of the planning board versus the role of the CEO.”

Members hope to have a revised zoning ordinance ready for vote at town meeting.

The next CPIC zoning subcommittee work session is Monday, March 19, 9:30 a.m. The public hearing is on Monday, March 26, at 7 p.m. Both are at Emerson Hall.