Lamoiners showed up in small numbers on Tuesday, 17.75% or 267 voters out of 1,504 registered, to re-elect incumbent Selectmen Bob Christie (203 votes) and Kathleen Rybarz (145 votes) over challenger Glenn Manring (108 votes). Manring’s positive comments about the gravel industry at Candidate’s Night and at the town hearing for the MacQuinn pit expansion may have damaged his chances with many voters. School Board members Bret Jones and Bob Pulver were re-elected without opposition. Jane Fowler received five write-in votes for tax assessor and according to Stu, has decided to accept the position.
Lamoiners met at 6 pm on Wednesday, March 20 to approve the town warrant. Attendance was moderate to robust, about 60 persons; later arrivals had to find their own chairs. The first order of business was to name the Citizen of the Year. This accolade fell to Bob Pulver, mentioned above as School Board electee.
Nearly all items were passed by the attendees, raising colored cards, without controversy except for item 11, the petition-initiated change to the Building and Land Use Ordinance, eliminating a footnote allowing pre-2014 gravel pit applicants to re-apply under the old rules. Bret Jones opined that this change was directed at one particular applicant (Harold MacQuinn, Inc.) and therefore looked like “spot zoning”. Planning Board chairman John Holt responded that the change affected more than one company (he mentioned Doug Gott and Sons as an example) and therefore was not spot zoning. The votes against were minor enough to not require a count, but appeared to be 15 or so, including Selectmen Nate Mason and Gary McFarland.
New Public Land?
At Town Meeting, Lamoine Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon “let the cat out of the bag” (his words) about a land gift to Lamoine via the Frenchman Bay Conservancy. The two parcels comprise 41.5 acres around Blunt’s Pond and also border the Goodwin Pit.
Board of Selectmen member Jo Cooper revealed that she has worked on this with the owners. Member Nate Mason expressed concern that the two parcels would no longer contribute to our tax base (at most $1,600/year). Nate thought if the Conservancy retained ownership we could still collect taxes but audience member and former assessor Michael Jordan countered that as a conservation property the tax would be greatly reduced anyway, perhaps by 95%. Audience member and Conservation Commission chair Larissa Thomas stated that its value to Lamoiners as allowing “some uses permitted on the property” more than compensated for the loss of tax revenue. Bob Christie suggested meeting with the Conservancy at the next meeting to further explore pros and cons. Opinions about this issue can be expressed via Selectmen’s emails by following this link. Note that an email to an individual will automatically go to all Selectmen.
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