NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectmen agreed Monday night to hold a public hearing on extending the 180-day moratorium on large-scale solar energy projects that voters approved in May.

The hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at the New Gloucester Meeting House. Voters will decide at a town meeting whether to lengthen the moratorium.

The board did not say Monday how long the extension would be.

The Land Management Planning Committee is working on a solar project ordinance which will require voter approval.

In other business, the timeline for the 2020-21 municipal budget begins in December with department heads giving Town Manager Carrie Castonguay their spending proposals. The town manager will work on the requests, send them to the board by Jan. 22 to consider in a series of workshops. The Budget Committee begins reviewing them in February for a hearing on Feb. 26.

The board adopted a revised 1982 Tobacco Use Policy, effective immediately. The amended version includes no smoking or vaping in municipal buildings or on equipment.

Fire and Rescue Chief Toby Martin announced receipt of a $14,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security for new portable radios.

During the audience part of the meeting, former Selectman Steve Hathorne questioned the board about a roof leak in the new salt/sand shed at 611 Lewiston Road. He said the doors haven’t been installed and the floor is cracked.

He also asked, “Why are we putting sand in the building we don’t own? Do we have a permit of occupancy?”

The town hasn’t taken possession of the building from the contractor because it’s not finished.

Hathorne also said a recent executive session by the board at the Town Hall gave no notice to the public beforehand, as required by law. He said he tried to enter the building, but the doors were locked.

“These actions were not legal,” he said.

Selectmen did not respond to any of his questions.


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