SUMNER — Proposed Subdivision Ordinance amendments will ensure all developments are built to town specifications and completed, Planning Board members said Tuesday.

“We want it done right and we want it finished,” Planning Board Chairman Andy Wickson said of a future subdivision development that will be affected if the changes are approved by annual town meeting voters next month.

The Planning Board will ask voters to approve amendments that range from a performance bond requirement to ensuring the application process is compliant with state regulations.

It also requires that a subdivision be finished — including sidewalks and roads — before any units are sold.

“It’s more user-friendly,” Wickson told board members, Selectwoman Mary Ann Haxton and a few residents who showed up for the more than hour-long public hearing.

For months, the board and others have been reviewing the town’s Subdivision Ordinance that was adopted in 1988 and amended in 1993.

The revisions are based, in large part, on the town of Hebron’s subdivision ordinance. Like Hebron, Sumner does not have zoning. Hebron adopted a revised ordinance that was approved by the state.

Much of the public hearing conversation revolved around suggested revisions from resident Jeff Pfeifer. Suggestions involved clarification of a few definitions plus legal and safety issues, including a requirement that egresses and exits at large subdivisions be designed to ensure emergency vehicles can access the property quickly.

Pfeifer said the requirement would keep a sole access road from becoming blocked in an emergency.

“One exit could endanger lives,” he said.

While Planning Board members agreed that everyone wants to ensure residents’ safety, some concern was expressed about requiring the expensive mandate on smaller subdivisions, such as a two-lot family property.

Member Ed Hinshaw said the ordinance has flexibility to waive certain requirements that are meant for larger subdivisions.

Pfeifer also asked the town to hire a licensed Maine engineer as an inspector to ensure developers are meeting construction standards, soil and conservation issues, road capacity and other issues.

While they agree that the construction must be done to town standards, a few board members, including Wickson, believed developers of large-scale subdivisions would hire their own engineer to protect their multimillion dollar development.

Haxton was also present to ensure that concerns officials mentioned at previous review meetings were addressed in the revised document.

“They did a thorough and comprehensive job,” Pfeifer said after the meeting.

The board will meet on Tuesday, Aug. 11, to finalize the ordinance for town meeting action.

[email protected]

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.

filed under: