PARIS – Selectmen approved an ad hoc committee to review the subdivision ordinance on Monday.

By the end of the evening, each of the five selectmen had appointed a resident to join the five members of the Planning Board on the committee. The board also approved a definition for the committee’s responsibilities: To review previously submitted topics, recommend any changes in the ordinance to the Planning Board, and maintain consistency with the town’s comprehensive plan.

Jack Richardson, Sid Record, Bob Ripley, Alvin Barth and David Andrews will join Planning Board members Amos Case, Alfred Atkinson, Franca Ainsworth, Jackie Young and Robert Kirchherr to serve on the committee.

The subdivision ordinance passed last June, 487-468, while the comprehensive plan passed 540-420.

Last month, Ron Fitts approached the selectmen and requested a review of eight concerns with the ordinance. Selectmen voted 3-2 on Jan. 28 to create an ad hoc committee.

Ainsworth kicked off discussion on the issue Monday by asking that the committee be balanced.

“I don’t want to look back in a year and realize it was top-heavy,” she said.

The discussion, which took place during citizens’ comments prior to the board’s business, led to some confusion as to the role of the Planning Board in the committee and whether selectmen would hear from the committee as a whole or just Planning Board members.

Selectman Gerald Kilgore went on record as opposing formation of the committee.

“I’m afraid it would be stepping on the Planning Board’s feet,” he said.

Prior to the nomination process, the nine residents who applied for a seat on the committee were asked to introduce themselves and state their profession. Residents Charles Hurd, Fred Jackson, Robert Jewell and Jean Smart also applied for positions.

Andrews said he thought the ordinance was a “vast improvement” over the 31-year-old document it replaced, but voted against it because he thought it held certain flaws.

“Anything that only passes by a fraction of 1 percent should have a second look at it,” said Andrews.

Ripley, who said he owns 70 acres of land, agreed with Andrews’ statement and felt the town had “totally excluded the citizens” in creating the ordinance.

Record said he was a former selectman who was on the original comprehensive plan committee. Barth, a former Bethel selectman and state legislator, said he agreed with making some changes and thought he could give an unbiased opinion. Richardson, a retired FBI agent, said he has done business with renovation and restoration.

Ainsworth suggested that all applicants be allowed to serve on the committee. Selectmen Raymond Glover and David Ivey agreed, and Town Manager Sharon Jackson said a selectman might serve on the committee to bring its membership up to 15.

However, the idea was scrapped after several people said that a 15-member committee would be unwieldy. Chairman Ernest Fitts III suggested that each selectman appoint a member to the committee.

In their appointments, Fitts chose Record, Ivey chose Richardson, Glover chose Ripley, Kilgore chose Barth and Glen Young chose Andrews. The appointed members were unanimously approved.

Glover’s proposed definition of the committee’s responsibilities, which initially had the committee presenting recommendations to selectmen, was accepted after it was changed to have the committee make recommendations to the Planning Board.

The committee’s first meeting will be March 4.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.