Panel proposes new rules for Cape Elizabeth committees

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CAPE ELIZABETH — A Town Council committee is recommending a complete rewrite of the ordinance that governs the town’s boards and committees.

The purpose of the rewrite is to organize the ordinance and clarify the purpose of each committee. The Town Council will hold a public hearing on the changes July 11.

Councilor Jessica Sullivan, a member of the ordinance committee, said she is “pleased” with the rewrite, which the committee completed June 2. 

“I think it’s going to make it a lot easier for people going forward to quickly look up these boards and committees and see what they are and see what they do,” Sullivan said.

Councilors Caitlin Jordan and Sara Lennon also serve on the committee.

Changes in the rewrite include changing the names of groups now called “boards” or “commissions” to “committees,” so it will be clearer that they are Town Council advisory groups. The Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Conservation Commission, and the Board of Assessment Review will be excluded from this rule.

The ordinance committee is also recommending that members of the firing range committee be appointed by the same standard employed with other committees.

Firing range committee members are appointed by rules laid out in the shooting range ordinance. According to that ordinance, the committee includes a member appointed by the Spurwink Rod and Gun Club. The boards and committee ordinance says committee members are appointed after being recommended by the appointments committee and approved by the Town Council. 

Other changes the Town Council will consider include reducing the membership of some committees from seven people to five. This will vary depending on the responsibilities of the committee and the ability to find volunteers to fill seats. 

The ordinance committee is also recommending that the Town Council makes sure senior citizens are represented on the Community Services Committee, and that the Conservation Commission be tasked with conducting an open space evaluation and preservation program.

Councilors will also discuss whether all committees need a Town Council liaison. 

The ordinance committee’s recommendation also says that once the ordinance rewrite is approved and implemented, all documents related to standing committees must be updated. The descriptions and purposes of the committees must be rewritten to match the updated ordinance. 

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.