NORWAY – Selectmen agreed Thursday to hold a public hearing to cover parking issues and a town meeting on building permit fees Sept. 18.

The public hearing is to get input to amend the parking ordinance from two-hour parking on Main Street to four-hour parking.

Main Street businesses had lobbied the selectmen for the change.

The meeting will be to increase the fees for building permits.

Code Enforcement Officer Jeffrey VanDecker told selectmen at the Aug. 7 meeting that permit fees had not been increased since Nov. 6, 1973, and it was time for a change.

The current permit fees charge $5 for construction up to $5,000 and then $1 per $1,000 of construction after that.

The new structure would charge 10 cents per square foot for living space in new residential construction. The fee for nonliving space, such as garages, basements and sheds would be 5 cents per square foot.

Commercial costs would be 15 cents per square foot.

There would be no charge for renovations of less than $20,000. Once $20,000 in renovations is reached the permit would cost $20. An additional $1 per $1,000 would be assessed after that.

Town Manager David Holt asked VanDecker what he would do if someone did $50,000 in renovations and said they only cost $19,000.

“I wouldn’t fight that battle,” VanDecker said.

He said the permits are basically based on the honor system.

VanDecker said the fee increases would bring Norway into line with what surrounding towns charge.

Included in VanDecker’s proposal is the allowance to charge double fees if a permit is issued after the fact and the encouragement for selectmen to review fees annually.

VanDecker also said that charges for renovations on a large commercial building would be guided by the size of the area renovated, not total square footage of the building.

Chairman of the Comprehensive Planning Committee Irene Millett told selectmen that her group was ready to go ahead and put the plan on paper, hoping to have it ready for next town meeting.

She said the committee has been working closely with Fergus Lea of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments.

“I feel we don’t need any more public hearings or input,” Millett said. “We’ve already started putting it on paper. We’re changing the formula (used in 1992) a little bit and working to make it more user friendly, easier to read and easier to use.”

She said the committee, which was formed in December of 2001, has found many residents share like values concerning keeping the historic sense of Norway in tact and keeping it a small town.

“Walking and biking trails are a big thing,” she said. “When they did the plan in 1992 they were hardly mentioned, but things have changed. We also want Lake Pennesseewassee to be clean and used.”

Holt said he understood the committee had been hearing that residents have been saying they want some sort of land use regulations in some areas.

Millett agreed and said that on the survey, which was mailed to residents and posted in business downtown, did not use the word zoning, but rather asked if guidelines to land use was needed.

She said she hoped that a draft would be ready by the end of the year.

A public hearing would be scheduled for townspeople to comment on the draft, and the document would have to be accepted by selectmen. Then it would be sent to the state for approval.


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