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Town Council Minutes 06/27/2017

South Berwick
Town Council Meeting
June 27, 2017
 
Vice-Chairman John Kareckas called the meeting to order at 6:34pm.  Councilors present included Laura Leber, and Thomas Chase.  Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance.  Chairman Russell Abell arrived at approximately 6:37pm.  John James was not present.
 
Approval of Minutes
 
1. Council 06-13-17:  On a motion by Mrs. Leber, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written. 
 
Treasurer’s Warrant
 
1. On a motion by Mr. Chase, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant in the amount of $852,499.40.  Mrs. Leber made note that this warrant includes the monthly school payment of $635,442.16 and a payment to Libby Scott for paving in the amount of $51,113.59.
 
Reports & Presentations
 
1. A group of residents presented a “Model local law enforcement policies and rules as recommended by the ACLU” to the Council.  The group, headed by Jeff Deck of Academy St, included Jane Connolly of Academy St, Virginia Wilson of Sewall Rd, Lisa Hirschkop of Sterling Ln, Roberta Beavers of Woodland Hills, Mimi Demers of Belle Marsh Rd, and David McDermott of Bennett Lot Rd. 
 
The Council discussed the proposed policy and agreed that a workshop would be necessary.  Mr. Ellsworth made note that a number of the proposed items are already included in our Policing Policy.  Mr. Kareckas expressed concerns regarding setting any precedents and how the proposed policies were promulgated.  He also asked if the proposed policies had been vetted by the ACLU.
 
Mr. Deck clarified that he is not an employee or representative of the ACLU.
 
Mr. Ellsworth stated that he would work on setting a workshop date, but he would first send the information to the attorney for his recommendations.
 
Public Comment
 
None
 
Town Manager’s Report
 
-The conversion to the TRIO system is scheduled to go live on Thursday.  Those involved in motor vehicle processing have all passed the State’s test.
-The offices will be closed both Monday and Tuesday for the holiday. 
-Made note that he will be taking a week off in early October for the moose hunt (finally got drawn) and will miss the council meeting.
-Paving has begun on some roads.  Jon is on vacation this week.
-Friday is fiscal year-end.  August 3rd will be the last day to submit any bills for the 2016/2017 budget year because the audit must be completed by October 1st, which is the end of our license with the Northern Data Software.
-Working with the school to access the highspeed internet currently available across the street at Central School.  We should be able to “piggyback” on their signal.  This would mean a significant increase in internet speed for the town hall and result, ultimately, in lower fees.
-Thanked Councilors Kareckas and Leber for attending the annual meeting of the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission.
 
Unfinished Business
 
1. Mr. Ellsworth explained that the current Library Advisory Board by-laws have a term limit.  The proposal is to delete the term limit language from the by-laws.  Mr. Kareckas asked if the LAB was ok with the change.  Mr. Ellsworth responded that the librarian is.
 
TC 06-27-17
 
 
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adopt the new Library Advisory Board bylaws as presented on 06-27-2017 after striking the notation “Adopted by LAB 5-16-17” at the bottom.
 
2. Police Station:  Mr. Ellsworth informed the Council that he has met with the attorney and the Police Chief & Lieutenant regarding the Farmgate site.  Farmgate was approved as a cluster development with required open space.  The open space rules prevail.  He added that he has talked with the Farmgate Association’s attorney and they are interested in trying to make a deal that will work for everyone.  The land needed for the police station could be handled through a “friendly taking” (eminent domain).  If all parties can come to an agreement things could progress rapidly.
 
Mr. Kareckas stated that the residents around the Farmgate property should be notified of the potential siting of the police station there so they can have input on the location and process.  He recommended compiling a comparative analysis of the Farmgate and Norton St. sites.
 
Ms. Hirschkop of Sterling Lane questioned the safety issue of cruisers entering Route 236 near a dangerous curve.  Mr. Abell explained that the majority of calls are not responded to from the station because the cruisers are already on the roads on patrol.  And, they certainly would use sirens and flashing lights.
 
New Business
 
1. Mr. Kareckas thanked both outgoing board members Al Whitaker (LAB) and Peter Grace (ZBA) for their service.
 
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber it was unanimously voted to re-appoint the following board and committee members to terms expiring June 30, 2020:
 
Smilie G. Rogers -Board of Assessment Review
Mark Gagnon – Building Committee
Greg Tuano & Jaime Dusseault – Conservation Commission
George Muller – Historic District Commission
Elaine Pridham – Library Advisory Board
William Straub – Planning Board
Nicole Drake – Recreation Committee
John Klossner – Zoning Board of Appeals
 
2. The Council discussed the implementation of a policy regarding the acceptance of applications for retail marijuana establishments and social clubs.  Mr. Abell read the proposed policy.  (See attachment A).
 
Lynn Hatch, Beaver Dam Rd, commented that the policy sounds like a moratorium.
 
Mr. Abell stated that the notice simply informs the public that the Town is following the State.  Mr. Ellsworth added that it does not prohibit personal growth or use. 
 
Jeff Deck, Academy St, questioned the need for an ordinance if it is still prohibited at the State level.  Mr. Abell clarified that it is not an ordinance, it is a policy; it lets the public know what the Town’s position.  Mr. Kareckas stated that there a number of performance standards that need to be researched before any decisions can be made.
 
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to immediately exercise the Notice Regarding Retail Marijuana Establishments and Retail Marijuana Social Clubs.
 
Mr. Abell made note that the notice only applies to retail.  He added that he has recently become aware that there may be several medical marijuana growers in town.  Due to recent court cases, the definition of growth facilities has changed.  Our ordinances need to be looked at and a determination as to whether any existing facilities are conforming or non-conforming uses.  Mr. Abell continued that due to the use of chemicals and special lighting, amongst other issues, facilities will have to be regulated.  If facilities are to be allowed in Town, they must be looked at intelligently, safely, and located where most appropriate.
 
 
TC 06-27-17
 
Referencing the Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 140-18, Mr. Abell made note that “Any use which is not listed as a permitted use or a use requiring site plan review is prohibited”.  Mr. Abell added that he felt the Town had the right and the duty to pursue the issue.
 
Mr. Ellsworth stated that he would contact the attorney.  It may require an executive session.  He added that if medical growth facilities were considered agricultural at the time the permit was issued the grower may be grandfathered but would not be able to expand.
 
Councilor Comments
 
1. Mr. Kareckas:
-It was another great Strawberry Festival.  It was nice to see the Scouts there.  He thanked the Festival Committee for their hard work.  It is a good fund raiser and the funds are redistributed to local groups.
 
2. Mr. Chase:
-It’s nice to have some good weather.
-Wished everyone a safe & happy holiday.
 
3. Mrs. Leber:
-Commented that she hopes that now that summer is here, kids will get outside with productive things to do.
 
Adjournment
 
On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 8:07pm.
 
 
Attest:
 
 
 
Barbara Bennett, CCM