MEXICO – The Board of Selectmen came to no decision Wednesday night on  whether Planning Board duties should be just land-use issues or include ordinance reviews as well.

Town Manager John Madigan said he received a letter from John Maloney, senior planner with the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments in Auburn, about what planning boards typically do.

“Maloney is an expert on planning boards, and he sent a letter to us with some information,” Madigan said. “He drafted a synopsis of what the law requires planning boards to do.”

In his letter, Maloney said planning boards primarily deal with subdivision issues, land management, shoreland zoning and site review.

“He said that if the selectmen or the townspeople desire to charge the Planning Board with additional responsibilities, the ordinance should be reflected to address those responsibilities,” Madigan said. “He said our ordinance doesn’t really outline much, in terms of what the Planning Board should be doing.”

Selectman Albert Aniel said, “You all know my feelings on the issue. I think the Planning Board should just deal with land issues and that’s it.”


Madigan said selectmen have the right to ask the Planning Board to review anything they desire, but it “should be reflected in the town’s Planning Board ordinance.”

“At some point, for whatever reason, the Planning Board started reviewing all of the town’s ordinances,” Madigan said. “It was probably in order to make sure that the ordinances being reviewed were compatible with the other town ordinances.”

“Yeah, but I don’t think that’s the purview of the Planning Board,” Aniel said. “Even if we do have compatibility issues, that’s what we have a town attorney or the Maine Municipal Association for. The whole process is delayed by us having to go through the Planning Board. Why can’t the selectmen do these things?”

Selectman Reggie Arsenault, who also serves on the Planning Board, said that when he first became a Planning Board member “many years ago,” they were reviewing ordinances.

“It’s always been one of our duties, so we presumed it was required,” he said. “However, there have been a lot of things coming up lately, and it’s making us question whether we should be doing it or not, or if the selectmen should do it.”

Aniel said, “To me, it feels like we’re asking the Planning Board to do the heavy lifting. When I was a Planning Board member, there were some things that came up that I didn’t feel competent enough to deal with, and I’d have to turn around and get legal opinions from the town attorney or the MMA.”

Later in the meeting, Aniel asked if the town would have to make a motion to change the Planning Board’s duties.

“I couldn’t find anywhere in the town’s minutes where a motion was made to have the Planning Board review ordinances or do anything other than land-use issues,” Madigan said. “You could just see if the Planning Board wants to review their own ordinance and figure out what they want their responsibilities to be.”

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