CANTON — A large new potato storage barn under construction at Crane Brothers Farm Inc. on Maxwell Farm Road off Route 140 caught the attention of the Planning Board on Thursday night.

It wasn’t on the agenda, but Secretary Doleen Boyce brought it up after Chairman Mike Timberlake opened the meeting.

Timberlake said Code Enforcement Officer Scotty Kilbreth apparently hadn’t issued any permits for it.

“Somebody said they knocked down and burned their (old) barn over winter?” Boyce said.

“How could you not see their building, Doleen?” Planning Board member Becky McDonald asked.

“So did you guys do a permit this winter?” Boyce asked.


Nobody knew. Neither did they know if Kilbreth had issued a permit, although it’s the Planning Board’s responsibility to do permitting work for commercial structures.

The farm is at 18 Maxwell Farm Road off Route 140 to the east of Route 108.

Boyce also asked Donny Hutchins, the Board of Selectmen chairman and liaison to the Planning Board, if he was aware of any permit issued by municipal leaders. Hutchins said he wasn’t.

“Well, even though, he still can’t build that building there in the flood zone irregardless of any shoreland zoning thing, right Tom?” Boyce asked Planning Board member Tom Adley, who didn’t respond.

McDonald sought clarification from Hutchins on the town’s flood plain ordinance, but Hutchins said, “I don’t dare say, but this is not shoreland zoning unless it floods. I would assume if it’s in the flood zone it has to be in the flood zone ordinance that you guys looked at.”

“I guess we need to find that out then, because I mean when you see this great big building, you say, ‘Geez, I don’t remember giving a permit for this great big building,'” Boyce said.


Timberlake checked the Planning Board’s permit file folder and said he didn’t see any permit issued to the Crane Brothers Farm. He said he did, however, find a permit issued earlier Thursday by Kilbreth for a mobile home for Tim Mitchell. Hutchins said it is on Jewett Hill Road.

“It was issued by Scotty, but I don’t see the application,” Timberlake said of the Mitchell permit.

McDonald started reading aloud Canton’s flood zone ordinance, telling the board what can and can’t be built in the zone.

Boyce said the old barn that was torn down and burned was where the owners bagged and sold potatoes and it was beside the owners’ house.

“Did they build on that same spot?” Timberlake asked.

“It looks like it,” Boyce said. She cited an example of a building that was torn down and rebuilt on the same spot. “So even though it was grandfathered, there were still policies to follow before it could be raised.”


Hutchins asked if a levee was built by a Mr. Wainwright, but no one responded. “Because if a levee was built, that might waiver that (flood zone ordinance). That’s just an idea.”

“It might not need to, because it’s not a residence,” McDonald said. “It’s actually a barn.”

“I don’t think it is irregardless if it’s a structure or a barn,” Boyce said.

When asked if the barn is a residence, Hutchins told them it isn’t. “It’s commercial and agricultural.”

The board decided they need to determine if the property owner needs a permit and to check with Kilbreth to find out if he issued a building permit to the Crane Brothers Farm.

McDonald said they also need to check the town’s maps to determine the zone for the farm building. Hutchins reiterated that it’s commercial and agricultural. Then, he said, “But we don’t have zoning.”


“If there’s something wrong, he’ll make it right,” Hutchins said.

In other business, the Planning Board voted unanimously to be the steering committee for Canton’s Bicentennial Celebration in 2021.

After the meeting adjourned, the board organized its files that were moved from the old Town Office on Staples Hill Road to the new Town Office on Route 108.

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