OTISFIELD – Selectmen and the Comprehensive Plan Committee discussed land use, a survey and capital improvements during a meeting to iron out their differences Wednesday night.

“We clearly had a lot of trouble with land use,” Bishop said. “Do you want us to do what the residents want or include land use?”

Selectmen and committee members were in agreement residents did not want zoning changes included in the ordinance.

“If we don’t include it, we may need to pay back grant money,” Selectman Gerry Robinson said.

“Tonight we need to figure out the problems, deal with them, then get the plan to voters,” Bishop said.

“The fact is we need to get growth management (land use) into the plan,” Robinson said.

Committee members said they believe if zoning is included in the plan, voters will not approve it.

“We spent a considerable amount of time on land use,” Bishop said.

The selectmen and committee had a lengthy discussion on this issue. Selectmen told committee members to include suggested areas for growth management in the plan and leave any zoning suggestions out of it. Zoning is handled through ordinances proposed by the Planning Board.

In the last plan there were three growth areas suggested: Bolsters Mills, Spurrs Corner and East Otisfield.

Bishop said his committee discussed suggesting a growth area from Spurrs Corner to the Bean Road. He noted in both forums residents said they want a village center with a new town hall, a meeting area, library and senior center.

“We are looking for guidance from you on what is sellable to residents as well as the state,” Bishop said.

“This is a plan not an ordinance,” Selectman Lenny Adler said.

Bishop handed a marker to the selectmen and asked them to circle growth areas on a town map.

“We have a village in Bolster Mills, Spurrs Corner and from here (the town office) to the Oxford town line,” Adler suggested.

Robinson suggested the Route 121 corridor, Bolsters Mills and Route 117 because they are state highways. This would save the community road maintenance costs, he said.

Committee member Stan Brett suggested growth areas should be on side roads rather than on roads already heavily traveled.

The two groups never resolved the issue but came to the agreement that growth management must be included in the plan.

Adler noted a survey of residents is required under the grant and it was never sent out.

“We felt people would not reply and we held the forums instead,” Bishop said.

Committee member Bill McCoy said consultant Fergus Lee of Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments talked the committee out of mailing surveys to residents.

“Are you now saying this plan has to be state compliant?” McCoy asked.

Robinson said the board wants what is required under the grant to be done.

Adler suggested the committee use the generic survey that was sent out for the first Comprehensive Plan. Bishop said they have example surveys they can use. He asked the board what they considered a reasonable response.

“I’ll take what we get,” Adler said.

The selectmen said the town will pay for the survey and town employees will help collate the information. Adler read a section from the grant requiring the survey and the board agreed it needed to be done. Once the survey is written the committee will present it to the selectmen before it is mailed.

Discussion then turned to capital improvements. Bishop said he wrote out a five-year Capital Improvement Plan that was not included in the Comprehensive Plan.

He said the committee needs to meet with the selectmen to complete this task.

“We need to lay out a 10-year plan, year by year and include expenses for each year,” Bishop said. “We need a separate meeting as soon as you can meet with us.”

“This is the most important part of the plan,” Robinson said.

The board postponed next week’s regularly scheduled Board of Selectmen meeting to Aug. 27 and scheduled a meeting with the committee at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, in the town office.


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