D-F officials devise recommendations for new land use ordinance

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Last month three referendum questions concerning the town land use ordinance — a revised ordinance, an ordinance concerning transportation corridors, and an ordinance on large-scale water extraction — were each voted down. In the weeks since the Dover-Foxcroft Planning Board has met and devised a series of recommendations, which were presented to the selectmen during a Dec. 17 meeting.

Town Manager Jack Clukey said at the Dec. 6 session the planning board “spent most of its meeting really talking about the land use ordinances and how the town should proceed.” He said Consultant Gwen Hilton, who has worked with a land use ordinance committee over the last several years, was also in attendance.

Four recommendations were made, including the town bringing the land use ordinance back to the voters in order to establish a land use ordinance that is consistent with the comprehensive plan adopted in 2016 and the land use ordinance committee should be reinstated to work on the document with Hilton.

The third recommendation is to make more information available to voters regarding the land use ordinance, as early on the committee should invite public questions and input. Lastly, the mega project ordinances should be addressed sometime after land use ordinance work is completed (post-June of 2019).

“Basically it boiled down to, obviously, they felt more information was needed and we need to explain why the new ordinance is different and important,” Clukey said.

“If members of the land use ordinance committee are willing they would be the best group to make changes to improve the ordinance,” the town manager said.

Those present at the planning board meeting earlier in the month discussed and came to an understanding that should a need arise with a mega project ordinance being necessary to address a proposed project, the town could impose a new moratorium until such time as the mega project ordinance could be brought before the voters.

A planning board vacancy was filled by the selectmen. Brenda Schultz was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Gary Niles Jr. through June 30, 2021.

In other business, Clukey was authorized to sign a municipal quitclaim deed to RSU 68 for the 101 Harrison Avenue property adjacent to the SeDoMoCha School.

“101 Harrison Avenue is tax-acquired, it’s been tax-acquired for about four years now,” Clukey said. He said earlier in the fall RSU 68 Superintendent Stacy Shorey wrote the town a letter inquiring about purchasing the property for $1, with the parcel potentially being used for additional parking or, more long term, a performing arts building.

“One thing I included as far as the language goes is a clause if they ever wanted to sell the property we would have first refusal,” Clukey said. The price to revert back to the town would be $1 plus for any improvements made.

In his report Clukey said, “Sgt. (Todd) Lyford has let us know that he’s going to move on at the end of the month for Piscataquis County” as Lyford has been hired as the new chief deputy for the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office. “I hate to see him go but it’s a great opportunity for him. He’s still going to be around.”

The town manager said plans for the restart of the hydro facility at the Mayo Mill have been updated with the biological assessment expected to be finalized next June. “There is a timeline potentially, if things stay on track, for construction to start in late 2019,” he said.

Clukey also said he and other municipal officials from the area attended a meeting on the forthcoming Piscataquis County Ice Arena with representatives of Foxcroft Academy and the Libra Foundation. He said the first public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at The Commons at Central Hall.

“It’s going to be a process of several meetings and getting the word out,” he said.

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