Cape Elizabeth council shifts permit-granting authority

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Appeals for driveway permits denied by the Public Works director will now go to the Zoning Board of Appeals, instead of the Town Council.

The decision follows a unanimous council vote Monday to amend the Town Ways ordinance, due to concerns from councilors about their role in permit-granting.

The discussion about the ordinance change started after an appeal of a 2010 driveway permit put the councilors in the position of acting as a quasi-judicial body.

This week’s vote takes all permitting authority away from the council and gives it to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a final decision.

Also Monday, councilors voted unanimously to make changes to the administrative code to shift responsibilities for Community Services and the Facilities Department leadership to the School Department.

The superintendent of schools now has responsibility for the appointment and removal of the facilities manager. Management of the Community Services director was also moved from the town to the School Department.

Councilors also directed the ordinance committee to review the sign ordinance fee structure and to determine if temporary signs should be allowed to be left out longer than currently allowed.

The review reflects comments to town councilors from restaurant owners who use temporary signs, such as blackboards with chalk, to display menu items or events of the day, Council Chairwoman Sara Lennon said at the meeting.

Currently, businesses have to pay a $25 fee for each temporary sign displayed and can only apply to display them for a total of three, 30-day periods.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow Will on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.