WASHINGTON — While the city’s broadband expansion was expected to generate much discussion among voters on Saturday, the debate instead focused on the wording of a land use ordinance.
More than 60 people — some of them not registered to vote in Washington — gathered at Prescott Memorial School on Saturday for the city’s annual meeting. Voters were asked to approve spending of approximately $1.76 million, although some funds would come from other account fees and would not necessarily directly impact the amount raised through property taxes.
Three terms of reference dealing with the expansion of broadband coverage in the city were all passed unanimously without discussion. A woman in the audience suggested the crowd applaud the broadband committee for its efforts on behalf of the city.
Almost all of the terms of reference passed unanimously, but No. 45 proved a sticking point for some. The article sought to update the city’s land use ordinance to include new language allowing the use of buildings for events. The discussion lasted about half an hour and before an amendment was proposed to move the vote to the June primary, which would allow time to gather more information.
The updated land use ordinance specifically affected Richard and Lynne Bartlett, a couple from southern Maine who attended the town meeting specifically to discuss Section 45. The couple own 15 secluded acres on West Washington Road where they plan to hold weddings, parties and other events. in a renovated barn.
“We wanted a space big enough not to disturb people,” Richard Bartlett told the Kennebec Journal. “We were concerned about noise and cars on the street, but most people don’t drive to weddings or commute.”
In order for the Bartletts’ barn to become a wedding venue, they had to apply for a rezoning to a social events barn. He explained that the language of the order is too ambiguous and needs to be revised.
When discussing the article, participants were more concerned with how the ordinance was worded in the article and suggested voting separately on the four specific parts of the ordinance rather than the entire article. ‘order. Some people mentioned that the ordinance had “too many” sections to vote on.
The updated order included language “to increase the CEO-only review for non-residential structures up to 2,000 square feet from 1,500 square feet,” to “require a building permit for all structures size, but maintaining a fee only for structures over 240 square feet”, “allow event centers in rural and commercial areas” and “allow event centers in agricultural and forest areas with a special requirement of 15 acres minimum for this size use”.
Ultimately, it was decided to table Section 45 until the June 14 primary, when more information could be given and residents could vote for each part of the ordinance.
“I guess I’ll have to wait until June,” Richard Bartlett said after the vote didn’t happen.
The “canine animal control” ordinance has also sparked discussion. The updated Section 44 order added language to better include pets that the animal control officer has the ability to maintain, in the event of a complaint.
A resident said the broadening of the ordinance and keeping dogs and cats away made the motion “too broad”, suggesting it would also include stray chickens in addition to domestic farm animals and suggested modify the motion to keep it as it is, specifically for dogs and cats. This motion failed. The motion passed included an annual review to see if the animal control officer was indeed required to tame other animals.
Item 26 included ambulance costs of $117,290. Jesse Thompson spoke on behalf of the ambulance service, explaining that the rising costs are mostly for payroll so they can ensure they have EMTs and paramedics.
Article 7, which sets the due date for municipal taxes, has been changed from October 1, a Saturday, to October 3, a Monday, so that the city office will be open. The maximum interest rate on taxes is 4%. Section 20 was also amended to cap the transfer from the Road Maintenance Reserve Revolving Account at $10,000. There was no maximum number before.
There was no other discussion at the meeting, just residents asking for more information on certain items. It was specified on Section 28 and Section 29, that McDowell Road would be paved.
A budget committee made up of Wendy Carr, David Martucci, David Williams, Jesse Casas, Kathleen Ocean, Donald Drinnell and Peg Hobbs was chosen by the select council, with Deborah Bucko and Shawn Donahue named as alternatives.
Board member Wesley Daniel won the Spirit of America award.
Sidney voters approve $2 million city budget, narrowly reject nonprofit’s request at annual city meeting