Harpswell considers slew of ordinance changes

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HARPSWELL — The Planning Board is asking for citizens’ input on 10 ordinance amendments under consideration for next year’s Town Meeting warrant.

The proposed ordinance changes range widely in scope, from a revision of the town’s definition of structures to a town-wide ban on pesticide use.

The board has scheduled a workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m. at the town office to discuss the proposals with residents and town officials.

Town Planner Carol Eyerman said the changes are more ideas than firm proposals, and most have not been written in language that could be included in an ordinance. 

“They are proposals that are in the pipeline, but they are not set in stone,” Eyerman said.

Selectmen will have the final say on whether any of the proposed amendments will be put to voters at Town Meeting, Eyerman added. 

While some of the proposals simply clarify language or bring town ordinances into line with state laws, others have potentially far-reaching effects.

The changes under consideration are:

• A town-wide ban on pesticides and insecticides;

• Updating language related to enforcement of violations to the town’s sign ordinance;

• Placing limitations on construction noise at night and on Sundays;

• Allowing developers to increase the amount of impermeable surface in new construction in exchange for adding “green” infrastructure;

• Easing regulation of commercial fishing businesses that are home occupations, and allowing out-of-town fishermen to use existing town property;

• Turning management of the town’s shoreland timber harvesting regulations over to the Maine Bureau of Forestry;

• Redefining “structure” in the town’s shoreland zoning to exclude small items like tree houses, flag poles and picnic tables;

• Updating the town’s subdivision ordinance to include regulations on “spaghetti lots” with tiny water frontage and “liquidation harvesting” of timber;

• Amending the town’s in-law apartment provisions to allow an accessory unit to be attached only to a primary residence; and

• Clarifying contradictory language in the town’s parking ordinance.

Copies of memos explaining each proposal are available at the town office. Eyerman urged residents to attend the meeting or contact her office with questions and suggestions. 

Peter L. McGuire can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or pmcguire@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter @mcguiremidcoast.

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