Originally published in
The Weekly Packet, August 22, 2013
Blue Hill Selectmen back up on weight limit ordinance
“We’re essentially creating a loophole so big you could drive a logging truck through it,” said Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Bannister during a public hearing August 16 to amend the town’s newly enacted “Ordinance Restricting Vehicle Weight on Posted Roads.”
Initially, the selectmen, under the ordinance, posted Range, Mountain and Turkey Farm roads to trucks with weight not to exceed 54,000 pounds, looking to protect the roadways from planned timber harvests on the Range and Turkey Farm roads. The posting, however, had some unintended consequences for local business owners who suddenly found that they could not conduct their business as usual, and for homeowners who found that they were unable to receive large deliveries. “The ordinance was too far reaching,” said Bannister, “and affected people in ways it wasn’t intended.”
The hearing, legally necessary for the selectmen to hold before making changes to the ordinance, considered language taken from a similar ordinance enacted in Bucksport to except deliveries and uses for private landowners. The selectmen proposed adding the language: “Vehicles hauling to and from and for a residential property are exempted from the conditions set forth in section 5. Permits.”
After discussion from a handful of residents and business owners in attendance, the selectmen entered back into regular session and voted to enact the proposed language. While the selectmen in attendance, Bannister and Vaughn Leach, said they supported the intent of the ordinance in terms of protecting the roadways, they said the matter might be better taken to town meeting so voters could decide about the ordinance in general.
In other business, Fire Chief Denny Robertson told the selectmen that it was time to begin discussion in earnest about the firehouse roof, which needs to be replaced. “We need to decide whether or not we want to replace what is there now [a neoprene flat roof] or if there is need to consider a second story on the building or something more,” said Bannister.