Town Council Minutes 10/24/2017
Town Council Meeting
October 24, 2017
Chairman Russell H. Abell called the meeting to order at 6:35pm. Councilors present included John C. Kareckas, John James, Laura Leber, and Thomas Chase. Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance.
Approval of Minutes
1. Public Hearing – GA Ordinance - 10-10-17: On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
2. Town Council 10-10-17: On a motion by Mrs. Leber, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.
1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated October 19, 2017 in the amount of $366,680.07.
1. Pat Robinson reminded everyone of the Keep South Berwick Warm fundraiser at Spring Hill on November 1st from 5-7pm.
2. Mary Breen, Old County Rd, expressed her concerns regarding a medical marijuana growth facility near her home. She stated that there is noise, odor, and an increase in traffic (especially out-of-state plates). She added that she does not believe that the property owner is adhering to the Town’s ordinances. She asked what the Town is doing.
Mr. Abell and Mr. Ellsworth explained that currently the Town is in a holding pattern waiting on the State to finalize the laws and rules regarding the growth and sale of marijuana. Medical marijuana growth facilities are legal under state law, but there is a problem with whether they are considered agricultural (farming) or light industry. The Town has issued a policy regarding the establishment and sale of recreational marijuana; we will not take any applications until the State finalizes the law and rules. In late July, the Council passed a moratorium on medical growth facilities. The moratorium allows the existing facilities to function under state law, but prohibits any new facilities or expansion of existing facilities until January 2018. The Council may at that time extend the moratorium if necessary.
Luke Edgar, Academy St, asked about the proposed egress for the new police station onto Route 236 near Academy Street. He expressed his concerns about safety. (See Town Manager report #1.)
Town Manager’s Report
-PD: Discussed the need for a workshop with Lassel Architects to review the mock up sketch of the proposed police station at the Farmgate site. He suggested Tuesday, October 31st. Mr. Abell will not be able to attend; and Mr. James is unsure if he will be available. Mr. Ellsworth explained that the entry to the police station will be Farmgate Road; the proposed egress closer to Academy Street will be used only if Farmgate Road is for some reason inaccessible. The addition of turn lanes has been discussion in prior Council meetings.
-The legislature has passed a bill in regard to recreational marijuana and it is now on the Governor’s desk. It is unknown at this time if he will sign it or veto it.
-Road work is complete for the year, with only a few minor finishes needed. The crew have done a great job.
-Currently working to improve economic development opportunities. We need to find ways to make South Berwick more available for growth. A developer was interested in establishing a business in the industrial zone, but has backed off. Mr. Ellsworth will be contacting them.
-Made note that he will be serving at the soup supper at Spring Hill on November 1st.
-We have received the audit and so far, it looks good.
-November 2nd is candidate’s night.
-November 3rd in the Veteran’s Day celebration at the school.
1. Pat Robinson of the Great Works Regional Land Trust explained that the Trust has the opportunity to apply for a grant that would cover up to $2000 per lot for doing the title search. Any necessary survey work could run about $7000.
Mr. Ellsworth explained that there are four parcels involved off of Route 91 (Map 2 Lots 4, 40, 50, & 57). He added that the Town will take into consideration what GWRLT spends on research and surveys when determining a sale price or donation. Final application and project completion dates and the possibility of an extension were discussed.
On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Kareckas, it was unanimously voted to authorize the Town Manager to sign a Purchase & Sale Agreement with GWRLT with December 2018 and June 2019 as finish dates.
2. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adopt the amendments to Chapter 140, Zoning section 77, Site Plan Review. Mr. James noted that there were no public comments received.
1. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to approve the renewal of a liquor license for Isidore on the Rocks. Mrs. Leber abstained.
2. The Council discussed Chapter 121, Subdivision of Land, section 8 Waivers and section 44 Street Specifications. Several property owners have questioned the limitation on the length of dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs being limited to 600’.
Joe Rousselle and Kathy Connor were both present for the discussion. Ms. Connor explained that there are two types of subdivisions: those that are required to go before the Planning Board and are governed by Chapter 121, Subdivision of Land. These subdivisions are generally more than three lots and the owner doesn’t live there. The second kind of subdivision is usually a landowner that wants to break off a lot or two for a family member (subject to a certain time-frame). This type of subdivision is not restricted under Chapter 121, but is governed by Chapter 140, Zoning.
The issue of waivers was also discussed. The Planning Board may waive Street Specifications, as listed in Chapter 121-44H, but may not waive Design Standards, as listed in Chapter 121-44N.
No action was taken.
1. Mr. James:
-Looking forward to serving another three years if re-elected.
-Thanked his fellow Councilors, the Manager, and the Clerk for their mentoring, direction and guidance. He added that it has been a real eye-opening experience.
-Announced that he may be in Tennessee for the birth of his first grandchild and may not be able to attend the workshop or candidate’s night.
2. Mrs. Leber:
-Commented that we will see what the election brings; three more years or not.
-She also thanked other Councilors and staff for their help.
3. Mr. Abell:
-The Marshwood Education Foundation had a successful fundraiser last Friday night.
-Made note that the political sign in his front yard is his wife’s.
On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 8:01pm.
Barbara Bennett, CCM