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Paris board sends Land Access Ordinance for review

PARIS — The Board of Selectmen voted 4-1 to send the latest draft of a Land Access Ordinance to the town attorney for review.

Chairman Rusty Brackett and Selectmen Chris Summers, Scott Buffington and John Andrews voted in favor of the motion, while Gary Vaughn voted against it.

The ordinance, which was originally called a Private Property Ordinance, was introduced at a January 2018 meeting by resident Troy Ripley who wanted private property owners to have the right to prohibit dangerous weapons on their property while still allowing recreational use.

Ripley’s daughter, Megan, 18, was shot and killed in 2006 on the family’s property by hunter Timothy Bean of Paris, who mistook her for a deer.

In a June 12, 2018, straw poll conducted by selectmen, residents favored the ordinance, 418-253. Later that month, the board agreed to name a committee to revised the ordinance.

The committee changed the purpose of it from “prohibiting or restricting weapons being brought onto private property” to “giving property owners the ability to prohibit or restrict access onto their property, and to enhance landowners’ relations with the public.”

During the Dec. 10, 2018, selectmen meeting, Buffington said that the revised ordinance “was almost a trespassing ordinance” and was “not quite what we had asked for.”

After receiving feedback from the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments at its Jan. 14 meeting, selectmen tasked the committee with editing sections to “make it closer to what the people voted on.”

Selectman John Andrews said Monday evening that the latest draft was “the best it’s been so far,” and a “step in the right direction.”

Buffington said he was in favor of having the town attorney review it but wanted to know the town enforces it.

“That’s my major question,” Buffington said. “Who’s responsible for taking people to court when they violate the ordinance?”

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Paris selectmen vote Monday evening on sending the latest draft of the Land Access Ordinance to the town attorney for review. From left are Chris Summers, Scott Buffington, Gary Vaughn, John Andrews and Chairman Rusty Brackett. Vaughn voted against the motion. (Sun Journal photo by Matthew Daigle)

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