Lamoine voters fix glitch in town’s land use ordinance

LAMOINE — Cluster housing has been permitted in Lamoine’s Building and Land Use Ordinance for at least 20 years as long as the development had access to public water and sewer.

“There’s just one little problem with that,” said Stu Marckoon, the town’s administrative assistant. “We don’t have a municipal sewer or water department.”

The 67 residents who attended the March 21 Town Meeting corrected the issue by voting unanimously to remove the requirement from the ordinance.

Ordinarily, the minimum lot size is one acre. In a cluster development of 10 acres or more, homes can be constructed on smaller lots, allowing the rest of the land to remain as open space. Because the homes are on smaller lots, they are less expensive.

“[Affordable] housing is certainly a consideration here,” Marckoon said.

Voters at the meeting also approved the town’s new comprehensive plan, which recommends the establishment of a community center.

Marckoon said a committee has been tasked with exploring what a community center might offer and where it might be located. The group began meeting last month.

“It’s in its infancy,” he said.

A community center is part of the comprehensive plan because residents said they wanted one. Residents were asked for input during the four years it took to develop the plan.

The previous plan, dated 1996, is “woefully outdated,” Marckoon said. The communications section, for example, did not include internet access.

“Internet access in town was one of the most discussed topics in the development of this plan,” says the plan introduction.

Comprehensive plans don’t expire but they should be kept up to date — and consistent with the state’s Growth Management Act — for a variety of reasons, he said. Town ordinances that are not consistent are more vulnerable in the event of a court challenge. A town also will not qualify for state grants unless it has a plan that is consistent with the state act.

A comprehensive plan’s main purpose is to “provide guidance to those [who] make ordinances and plan projects,” Marckoon said.

Voters also approved the town’s proposed $884,900 budget for 2019-20. The tax impact won’t be known until the passage of the school budget in May, Marckoon said.

The municipal side of the budget is down because the town doesn’t plan on doing as much paving as last year and because the town isn’t buying a fire truck for the Lamoine Volunteer Fire Department, which it did last year.

Copies of the comprehensive plan and town’s annual report are available at the town office.

Johanna S. Billings

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Johanna S. Billings covers eastern Hancock County and western Washington County. An avid photographer, she lives in Steuben with her husband and several cats. She welcomes tips and story ideas. Email her at [email protected]

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