WILTON — A citizen’s petition, submitted to the Board of Selectpersons, Code Enforcement Officer Charlie Lavin and Town Manager Rhonda Irish, was deemed to be ‘not a legal petition’ during the Tuesday, Oct.1, board meeting. However, the board agreed to work with citizens to address the concerns raised.

The petition asked the town to exempt construction or placement of mobile homes, mobile or permanent trailers, and modular homes within the geographical area of Webb, Eastern and Sunset avenues.

Irish said the petition was signed by between 30 and 40 residents of the neighborhood. Maine statute states in order for a petition to be considered, it would need to be signed by registered voters equal to at least 10% of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. In this case, 189 signatures would be needed, Irish later said.

“This had come up because the town has a tax-foreclosed property for sale on Webb Avenue,” she said. “When bids were not received for this property, the board voted to have it listed with a realtor. In the deed for that property, there was nothing in the deed restricting mobile homes.”

The Zoning Ordinance allows for mobile homes in the Residential 1 zone, which encompasses the Webb Avenue and Eastern Avenue area. There is a mobile home restriction on Sunset Avenue, she added.

Tracy Brooks, a Webb Avenue resident said, “Our big concern is the property values up there are consistent. If a trailer goes there, it will be significantly lower than what our values are. We have spent a lot of time and money in maintaining property values. It is a real concern for me and all those who have signed.”

An empty lot for sale on Eastern Avenue also concerns some neighborhood residents, she added.

“It is my understanding the board does not have the authority to change the ordinance,” said Board Chairman Keith Swett.

Selectperson Tom Saviello presented three suggestions. “Come to our next board meeting and ask for a moratorium while we work to develop rules around this,” he said. “I would be careful with how you word that. There are modular homes, that, if you did not know were modular, you would not recognize them as such.”

He also suggested the group charge the planning board with reviewing and modifying the land use ordinances for that area. Any changes, he said, would have to be brought to the town for a vote.

“Remember, you have to convince the whole town this right for your neighborhood,” he said. “Which brings me to my third suggestion, which is a little unusual. Buy the property.”

One resident asked if the Webb Avenue property could be removed from real estate listings while the group looked into the suggestions offered.

The board agreed to check to see if there would be a cost associated with taking the property off the market and work with the group to reach a resolution.

Selectperson David Leavitt said his only concern was that the group needed to move forward in a timely manner. “Our goal is to get that property back on the tax rolls,” he added.


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