NORWAY — Selectmen agreed Thursday night to put a question calling for a moratorium on industrial and commercial activity in four North Norway villages on the June 14 ballot.

If approved, a 180-day moratorium would prohibit construction, renovation or change in use of property. It would not restrict home-based businesses, as defined in the Site Plan Review Ordinance, residential development or agricultural businesses.

Selectmen could vote to extend the moratorium.

Several dozen people turned out for the public hearing on the plan Thursday night.

“It’s a serious issue. It’s worth the cost,” Selectman Russ Newcomb said.

Adding the question to the election ballot will cost about $1,000.

The other option was to bring it to the annual town meeting in June.

Fellow board members, including Warren Sessions and Mike Twitchell, agreed with Newcomb.

“We want to involve more people,” Sessions said.

The four rural villages affected are:

• Swift’s Corner: The area around the four-way intersection of Morse Road, Norway Center Road, Patch Mountain Road and Round the Pond Road;

• Noble’s Corner: The area around the intersection of Greenwood Road and Round the Pond Road;

• Norway Center: The area around the intersection of Norway Center Road and Morrill Road;

• Chapel District: The area around the four-way intersection of Wiley Road, French Road, Dunn Road and Morse Road.

Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman told residents at the public hearing that the moratorium would allow officials time to determine potential impacts of future projects on the area.

The issue of protecting historic areas was prompted earlier this year by a plan to open a wedding barn on Morse Road, which is in the Swift’s Corner village.

Peter Ulrickson filed a site plan review application last fall to approve a change-of-use request for a 19th-century farmhouse at 107 Morse Road so he could operate a wedding barn near Swift’s Corner.

But a large group of residents expressed concern about the plan, questioning potential issues such as noise and traffic. The application was eventually withdrawn.


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