Ordinance review committee

Wiscasset surveys on marijuana, comp plan on way

Sat, 11/27/2021 - 7:15am

    Wiscasset continues work toward possible marijuana rules and the town’s next comprehensive plan. Selectmen’s Chair Sarah Whitfield told the ordinance review committee Nov. 22, surveys would go out soon and close on Jan. 15.

    Whitfield chairs the comp plan committee and is selectmen’s liaison to the ORC. Both bodies want public input to help guide their work toward proposals for the town to consider. Both also have had help from Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission (LCRPC); a state official has met with the ORC on marijuana; and Maine Broadband Coalition co-founder Carla Dickstein and Midcoast Internet Coalition’s Matt Seigel’s talk with the comp plan committee helped lead selectmen to start a broadband committee.

    The comp plan survey’s introduction online states in part, “(We) want your input about how the town should grow, what we should prioritize, what we need to change, and what is important to protect. We will use the results ... to guide ... Wiscasset's visioning process so we can (plan) where we want to be and how we hope to get there in the next 10 years.”

    In a Nov. 24 email response to questions, Whitfield told Wiscasset Newspaper the panels hope everyone will fill out both surveys. They will go out in one mailing to all local postal customers, she said. The comp plan survey is at bit.ly/WiscassetCompPlan and the town office will have hard copies.
    “The majiuana survey is just the postcard that folks can send back. Postage is paid already. Anyone can fill out the comp plan survey; there's a place to note if you're resident or not. I think just residents is the idea for the marijuana survey ... meant to give the ORC some guidance on what ordinances we should be pursuing.”
    Whitfield expects the comp plan committee to resume meetings after the holidays. It last met Aug. 3. She expects it will talk transportation; LCRPC has been working on that chapter; and the panel will set a session on education.
    Whitfield expects both the comp plan committee and ORC will have some open sessions, COVID conditions permitting, in the spring, for more public input.
    Also Nov. 22, the ORC made plans to look through town ordinances for any fees selectmen do not set. Town Manager Dennis Simmons has said selectmen set subdivision and site plan review fees, but the building ordinance bases building permit fees on fair market value which he said can be ambiguous. Having selectmen set those fees instead would take a town vote. 
    In the Nov. 22 Zoom meeting, ORC Chair Karl Olson said selectmen should set all town fees. So any other exceptions should also be changed, “instead of doing this piecemeal when somebody finds one,” he said.