A recent memo (Notes-Draft 8) by Lamoine Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon has caught our attention. This was the summary of Draft 8 of the new Lamoine Gravel Ordinance Dated June 1, 2015. In the “Next Steps” section he said,
If the Selectboard and Planning Board are in agreement that this is a document that could go before the voters, I would suggest the following steps:
Have Dan Pileggi [town attorney] look it over, offer it to the gravel operators (i.e. Steve Salsbury [surveying firm] and Ed Bearor [gravel attorney]), and get any final thoughts from them as to changes to propose.
When we read this we thought, “Why does the process of writing town ordinances have to include non-resident gravel operators?” Friends of Lamoine decided to write a letter to Stu to let him know our thoughts on this issue. In it we said:
The gravel companies and their representatives have had ample forums to express their proposals for change in our ordinances. It is now up to us, Lamoine citizens, to decide our future related to this industry’s impact and literal formation of our land in the years to come. Since when does ordinance development depend on the approval of outside interests? We do not and should not run our town government based on what non-resident gravel companies or their counsel dictate. Review by our Town attorney would, however, be valuable. Any other input should be treated within the normal channels of public review and response.
As of this writing, the agenda for the next (6/25/15) Board of Selectmen’s meeting allots time for Steve Salsbury to voice his concerns about existing setbacks. The gravel operators have voiced concern about how changing from 50 feet to the voter-approved 100 feet in the 2013 ordinance amounts to the “taking” of money.
Friends of Lamoine seeks to end the influence of non-resident gravel operators on our town government. The gravel industry contributes only about $52,000 in property taxes (land) and another $6,000 in equipment property taxes for a total of $58,000. That’s equal to 11 or 12 shorefront owners and about 2.43% of the total tax collected.The Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board, and our Administrative Assistant have allowed numerous opportunities over the past years for gravel operators’ input: full representation on the Gravel Ordinance Work Group, presentations often at meetings, and formal and informal consultations. They have had their voice! However, the gravel companies’ representatives continue to use the threat of lawsuits to pressure our Town officials to meet demands which would overturn decisions Lamoine citizens have already made. We say, “Let them show their true colors!” Let them show Lamoine taxpayers and voters what kind of neighbors they really are, as if the dump trucks, noise, dust, craters and wasted land aren’t enough.
Come to the meeting at 7:00, 6/25/15 Thursday night at Lamoine Town Hall or watch it on Town Hall Streams.
The gravel owners are making an argument that increasing the set back line represents the “taking” of money.
They should be asked to calculate the amount of money taken. The town can use this number to calculate the value of the entire plot. Tax should be assessed on this value.
WHY are these huge assets not taxed?
I agree, I would love to charge property taxes on these pits for their “real” value – like what they would sell for on the real estate market. It would be nice to figure out why they are not.