Lisbon council seeks planning panel


LISBON — Town Council members are looking for help from the public Thursday night for the start of a six-month master planning process for the town’s main artery.

The kickoff meeting for the development of the Route 196 Corridor Master Plan begins at 6 p.m. Jan. 10, followed by a Planning Board meeting at 7:30 p.m.

At a workshop last month, councilors suggested that a steering committee be formed. It would be made up of residents, businesses, the school board, the Moxie Committee, the trails committee, churches, the historical society, the conservation commission, and a newly formed business and citizens’ group called Positive Change Lisbon.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Councilors Dillon Pesce and Mark Lunt volunteered to be members of the steering committee, which will meet monthly.

Thursday’s meeting will be led by Amanda Bunker, who has a contract with the town to provide planning services. Bunker has developed a proposed “vision statement” for the town which says, “The town of Lisbon is a traditional Maine community that is moving forward in the 21st century. It is a community of hardworking people with a proud past and a sense of place, where generations of families have been raised in an environment of safety.

“It is a community committed to quality of life with easy access to all that Maine has to offer. It is committed to working toward providing its citizens with a strong and vibrant local economy and benefits from an ongoing commitment to business as well as continued opportunities for growth,” the statement reads.


Speaking at last month’s workshop, Bunker characterized the importance of Route 196, calling it “the face of Lisbon. There is an opportunity here, not to be passed over, in terms of what happens on this corridor.”

Bunker said she hopes the outcome of the planning process will prepare the community “to start taking some action.”

In other business Tuesday night, Larochelle responded to accusations in a “tabloid,” that his family received a Homestead Exemption they were not entitled to. Larochelle said the blog “has dragged my parents’ name through the mud.

“My parents took their exemption and put it into an LLC,” he said, adding that they got “a lifetime Homestead Exemption.”

Although it was not required, Larochelle said he recently paid the town the difference in taxes over the last 10 years to put the matter to rest.

Town Manager Steve Eldridge announced he has been working with Lewiston officials to see if the unused rail line which connects the two communities could become a bicycle and pedestrian trail.

The council voted to go into executive session to discuss three issues: the specifics of an arbitration decision on the police sergeants’ union, a review of a Finance Committee application, and an economic development matter.