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by Anne Berleant
After prolonged and sometimes bitter public discussion, voters denied Castine a new zoning ordinance (278-257), despite last-minute cutting of controversial land use changes, but passed a new subdivision ordinance (272-266).
In the only contested town race, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Gus Basile retained his seat (374-179) for a third three-year term in a race contested by Gordon MacArthur.
“I was really surprised,” said Basile in a telephone call after the election. “I thought it was going to be much closer.”
He added he would “continue to be outspoken on critical issues that affect the town.”
The proposed ordinances were submitted by the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee’s zoning subcommittee and placed on the November 6 election ballot by town selectmen (Basile dissenting) on the recommendation of the planning board.
However, the newly enacted subdivision ordinance in some areas references the proposed zoning ordinance, not the current ordinance, which will remain in use. This is most notably found to be true in new article 8.22, Affordable Cluster Development.
“Cluster zoning is still a bone of contention,” said Basile.
That article references the zoning ordinance section 6.13, Land Not Suitable for Development. In the failed ordinance, that article provides an exception for affordable cluster housing in allowing the use of wetland in lot size calculations. The zoning ordinance that remains in effect does not; in fact, section 6.13 is on Junkyards. It is section 6.14 of the current zoning ordinance that should be referenced.
Each ordinance stands on its own, said Town Manager Dale Abernethy. “The next step is to figure out what the inconsistencies are and fix them at town meeting.”
“I think the people have spoken,” said Basile, “and what they said is they’re not happy with either [the current or proposed zoning] ordinance.”
In the interim, he said the planning board will decide any conflict that arises from inconsistencies between the ordinances.
The Affordable Cluster Housing article is the only substantive change in the newly enacted subdivision ordinance.
Voters passed the remaining referendum questions by wide margins, approving the transfer of $8,000 from the library investment fund to cover the children’s librarian salary and $5,400 from the Docks, Wharves and Floats Account to the Harbor Master Salary and FICA Account, and authorizing the use of $11,300 approved for recreation field restoration at town meeting to be used in part or whole for either the Fort George field or to develop a new recreation field adjacent to the Backshore Pond on Wadsworth Cove Road.
In two uncontested races, Kathryn MacArthur will serve a second three-year term on the school board, with 491 votes received, and Mary Appleman will continue to serve as a library board trustee, with 526 votes.