OFFICE OF SELECTMEN
ASSESSORS AND OVERSEERS OF THE POOR
LIMINGTON, MAINE 04049
Kathleen A. Maddocks, Chairman
Barry H. Gammon
Herbert M. Ramdsell
P.O. Box 240
September 27, 2000
Re: Protection Of Residential Properties From Mineral Extraction Industry Amendments To The Limington Zoning Ordinance Petition; and
Personal Wireless Service Facilities And Towers Ordinance Petition
Dear Dave and Dick:
This is to formally memorialize for your benefit the many issues surrounding the above petitions which the Selectmen were required to consider before arriving at their final decision on September 21, 2000 not to place either one of the above citizen-initiated petitions on the November 7, 2000 referendum ballot.
Proposed Protection Of Residential Properties From Mineral Extraction Industry Amendments To The Limington Zoning Ordinance Petition:
After taking into consideration many factors, the Selectmen voted not to include the proposed "gravel pit ordinance amendments" on the November 7, 2000 referendum ballot. Some of the factors taken into consideration include the following items and the severity of potential issues which result under the proposed amendments:
1) The Planning Board's recommendation not to forward these proposed amendments to the voters.
The fact that the proposed gravel pit amendments did not carry the Planning Board's endorsement obviously was a very important factor. An imposing factor which required careful consideration in view of the fact that it is always beneficial to the community as a whole to have at least a majority of the Planning Board members in support of proposed zoning ordinance amendments if those proposed amendments are ever to survive.
September 27, 2000
3) The numerous questions of constitutionality surrounding certain sections of the proposed gravel pit amendments in the event that these amendments were ever enacted.
The questions raised by the proposal as to constitutionality were also imposing factors which required great consideration. The Selectmen felt that it would not be a wise decision on their part to deliberately and knowingly put the town in a position which would certainly result in legal actions being brought against the town.
4) The fact that the proposed amendments contained a retroactive clause clearly designed to affect all pending applications before the Planning Board as of June 29, 2000 and thereafter, thereby requiring those applicants to comply not only with the currently standing ordinance but also with the requirements and regulations of a newly enacted ordinance.
The inclusion of this particular clause was designed to affect any and all applications which have already been submitted to the Planning Board under the requirements and conditions of the currently existing ordinance. This provision would require those very applicants to now comply not only with the currently standing ordinance but also with the requirements and regulations of a newly enacted ordinance, although those applicants had in good faith submitted applications under the currently existing ordinance.
5) The fact that the proposed amendments contained a section which mandates that all previously permitted gravel pit operators are required to once again come before the Planning Board for permit renewal, including the requirement that those previously permitted operators must now comply in all respects with all the conditions created under a newly enacted ordinance. This mandate applies to all pit operators, even though those operators have previously been fully permitted by the Planning Board as result of those applicants having met with and complied with all the criteria specified in the standing ordinance as of the time of the issuance of said permits and which permits include whatever additional conditions were applied to those permits by the Planning Board at the time of issuance.
This section in particular raises numerous questions as to constitutionality of the proposed amendments. Furthermore, this section clearly discriminates against and penalizes one segment of the land owners in our town by requiring them to once again go through the permitting process for the purpose of permit renewal, as well as requiring them, after the fact, to comply with newly created ordinance regulations and limitations. This requirement of the proposed amendments clearly demonstrates intentional discrimination against previously permitted operators.
As you know, the petition had to be considered as a whole and individual sections within the petition were not allowed to be deleted nor enhanced. Consequently, the Selectmen did not believe that, in good
September 27, 2000
conscious, it would be beneficial to the Town of Limington to bring such an ill-conceived gravel pit ordinance amendment proposal before the voters for consideration on the November 7, 2000 ballot. From a close reading of the proposed amendments, it is obvious that there remains a substantial amount of drafting work yet to be performed in order to reach a viable end.
Personal Wireless Service Facilities And Towers Ordinance:
Again, the Selectmen considered many factors before voting not to include the proposed cell phone tower ordinance on the November 7, 2000 referendum ballot. Some of those factors consisted of the following
1) The Planning Board's recommendation not to forward the proposed amendments to the voters.
Once again, the fact that the proposed cell phone tower ordinance did not carry the Planning Board's endorsement was a very important factor and one which required careful consideration by this Board.
3) There exist several federal telecommunications act questions and concerns which are not addressed nor resolved by the proposed ordinance.
4) The cell phone tower petition also carries a retroactive clause affecting all pending applications before the Planning Board as of August 10, 2000 and thereafter, even though such applications were submitted to the Planning Board under the requirements and conditions of the currently standing ordinance. This clause would require those very same applicants to comply not only with the currently standing ordinance but also with the requirements and regulations of a newly enacted ordinance.
Again, the inclusion of this particular clause was designed to affect any and all applications which have already been submitted to the Planning Board under the requirements and conditions of the currently existing ordinance.
5) Also requiring considerable consideration was the fact that the proposed tower ordinance addresses cell phone towers only.
Cell phone towers are only one small portion of the entire scope of the wireless communications industry. The proposed ordinance does not address or even consider any other remaining aspects of the entire wireless communications tower issue.
The lack of inclusion of pertinent language in the proposed ordinance necessary to address the entire scope of the wireless communications industry clearly demonstrates that this proposed ordinance was drafted in such a manner as to single out the current cell phone tower applications now before the Planning Board. The proposal was drafted in a manner which affects cell phone towers only and in no way affects or even addresses in
September 27, 2000
any way the remaining numerous aspects of wireless communications tower issues common to the industry.
As a result of the failure of the Personal Wireless Service Facilities and Towers Ordinance Petition to adequately and completely address the entire scope of the wireless communications tower industry, the Selectmen felt that such an incomplete and one-sided ordinance would not serve the Town of Limington to the greatest extent possible. Therefore, the Selectmen voted not to place this poorly drafted petition on the November 7, 2000 ballot for consideration by the voters.
As you both are fully aware, 30-A M.R.S.A. § 2528(5) provides:Referendum questions. By order of the municipal officers or on the written petition of a number of voters equal to at least 10% of the number of votes cast in the town at the last gubernatorial election, but in no case less than 10, the municipal officers shall have a particular article placed on the next ballot printed or shall call a special town meeting for its consideration.In this particular instance, the Selectmen voted simply not to place either the proposed gravel pit ordinance amendments or the proposed cell phone tower ordinance on the November 7, 2000 ballot.
It is this Board's understanding that the Planning Board of the Town of Limington is currently in the process of drafting proposed zoning ordinance amendments, including amendments addressing gravel pit use and wireless telecommunications tower issues for submission to the voters. it very well may be that the resulting Planning Board proposals might also include certain proposals contained in these two petitions. Therefore, we would encourage you to submit input concerning gravel pits and telecommunications towers to the Planning Board for its consideration as the Board continues to undertake the amendment and ordinance drafting process relative to these two issues. Input from all sources is certainly important and will help to ensure that a more comprehensive and practicable proposal will ultimately be brought before the voters of Limington for their consideration.
Kathleen A. Maddocks
c: Planning Board Members
View previous letter to selectmen September 20, 2000
View follow up letter to selectmen October 25, 2000
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