WOODSTOCK — Woodstock selectmen will hold a public hearing March 12 at 6 p.m. on two proposed ordinances that will be voted on at Town Meeting next month:  a local food ordinance and an accident fee recovery ordinance.

The food ordinance is the same as one approved by Greenwood residents in recent years, which allows for, among other things, exemption from state licensure and inspection for some locally-produced foods.  As in Greenwood, it was presented in Woodstock by Suzanne Dunham of Greenwood.

Woodstock Town Manager Vern Maxfield said the ordinance was requested by a family that produces crops and sells them at the Greenwood Farmer’s Market.

The purpose of the ordinance is spelled out in the proposal:

1. Through local control, preserve the ability of individuals and communities to save and exchange seed, to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume locally produced foods;
2. Ensure the preservation of family farms and traditional food ways through small-scale farming, food production, and community social events;
3. Improve the health and well-being of citizens of this state by reducing hunger and increasing food security through unimpeded access to wholesome, nutritious foods by encouraging ecological farming;
4. Promote self-reliance and personal responsibility by ensuring the ability of individuals, families and other entities to prepare, process, advertise, and sell foods directly to customers intended solely for consumption by the customers or their families;
5. Enhance rural economic development and the environmental and social wealth of rural communities; and
6. Protect access to local food through direct producer-to-consumer transactions.

The ordinance cites municipalities’ rights to home rule as stated in the Maine Constitution.

It would not apply to meat or poultry products that are required to be produced or processed in compliance with state law.

Accidents

The accident fee recovery ordinance proposes that Woodstock have the right to charge responsible parties for expenses incurred by town personnel, such as the Fire Department, in responding to “actionable emergencies,” which are defined as:

All accidents, hazards, spills, disasters, crashes, and other emergencies which result in the town and/or its departments expending costs to remedy, rectify, clean-up, or otherwise ameliorate, which also include: incidents lasting longer than four (4) hours; incidents involving a commercial vehicle; Incidents exceeding $2,000 in costs; or incidents involving the spill of hazardous materials.

Said Maxfield, “It gets expensive when there is a commercial vehicle crash that takes sometimes all day to clean up.”

The total expenses for the past two years totals about $20,000, he said.

The ordinance would not apply to private vehicles.

The public hearing will take place at the Woodstock Town Office.  The Woodstock Town Meeting is scheduled for March 25.

Woodstock selectmen held a regular meeting Feb. 19.  Among items of business was a vote to increase the amount of money selectmen may spend on a project without going out to bid from $5,000 to $10,000. The move, they said, would give Maxfield more flexibility in dealing with relatively small projects.

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