Anderson concurs on Wiscasset's post-planner challenges

Planned brewery site moves
Posted:  Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 8:30am

Since Wiscasset nixed its planning department, helping businesses start in town has been hard, Town Manager Marian Anderson and planning board members said Monday night.

Anderson told the board she appreciates its work fielding applications and doing other tasks without a planner. And she asked how she could help.

Members told her.

As a result of their requests and suggestions, the Ordinance Review Committee will update the applications for site plan reviews and subdivisions, starting with the site plan one; a note advising applicants to go by the ordinance, not the applications, will go on the forms’ pdfs online and near the forms at the town office; and Anderson will see if the town can start sending members their meeting packets in the mail.

The postage was part of the planning budget that ended and the next budget does not cover the packets' postage, she said, adding the panel is not the only board that has asked.

Member Al Cohen said they are busy and don't have time to pick up the packets at the town office. When they haven't reviewed an application ahead of the meeting, he said, "It doesn't look good."

Cohen reiterated his recent concerns over the applications, saying their lengths have varied, some have been missing pages and they don't match the ordinance. They need to, he said.

“If I come in from out of town and try to do business in town, it’s hard to do business.”

“You’re absolutely right. It is hard to do business,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the applications haven't been updated for some time. She and Chair Ray Soule found a collating error in one of 26 copies they checked, she said. Minutes after the talk, she sent an email she said she would, asking the ORC to review the forms and let her know of any materials that would help.

The project adds to the ORC’s to do’s it discussed earlier Monday night. The panel wants clarification on how its draft of an amended historic preservation ordinance gets to a town vote. Chair Karl Olson planned to ask Anderson to ask selectmen to get a lawyer to clarify that path. And the ORC will check on what it last favored on timber harvesting administration – leaving it up to the state, to the town, or both. Members’ recall varied. What happened after the ORC addressed it also needs to be determined, because the ordinance has not been updated, members said.

Brewery plans honed

Also Monday, the planning board continued working with Christopher Juntera as he seeks to put a brewery on his father Cecelio Juntera’s land on Wood Lane. Christopher Juntera was going to place it on a section with a mobile home he said will be removed and an apartment building he plans to convert to a drying facility for the hops he will grow. But members said a brewery there would need more acreage.

Juntera then said he could instead put the brewery on the other side of Wood Lane. That land is also part of his father’s 20-plus acres there, he said. He told the board he could stake the proposed brewery site that night. Plans called for Chair Ray Soule and members Tony Gatti and Peter McRae to walk it Tuesday.

Juntera wants to start building as soon as possible. When he gathers information the board has requested, it can consider the proposal, members said.