MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council voted 3-1 Monday night to appoint Tarsha Downing to the seat vacated by Councilor Wayne Hackett, who resigned last month.

Downing and Planning Board member Paula Stotts both requested to be appointed to the position. Both spoke about the need transparency and a willingness to serve the community.

Downing, a bookkeeper, has been a resident for three years and grew up in neighboring Minot.

Stotts and her husband, Mark, own and operate Whispering Winds Farm on Standpipe Road. They have lived in town for at least 20 years.

Downing said she began attending council meetings over the past year and became very interested in town affairs last summer when the council dismissed Town Manager Zakk Maher of his duties. He was eventually resinstated.

“I want to understand what is happening,” Downing  said.” I want to know behind the scenes. I want to make a positive change.”

Councilor Nick Konstantoulakis motioned to appoint Downing and Joe Emery seconded the motion.  Konstantoulakis, Emery and Chairwoman Cathy Fifield voted for Downing; Kieth Bennett did not.

Downing will serve until municipal elections in June 2020, when voters will choose someone to serve the remaining year on Hackett’s term.

Konstatoulakis, who will be the council’s liaison to the Planning Board, cited Stotts’ 20 years of service on the board. He said she’s a valuable contributor for the town and should remain on the board.

Hackett had been involved in town politics for years. He recently admitted purchasing town salt and sand at reduced costs for his personal and business use.

In other business, the council accepted the land use marijuana ordinances, after a public hearing. The regulations limit the number of retail marijuana storefronts, either adult-use or medical retail operations, to four. Retail facilities are permitted in rural, general development, highway commercial, special commercial and general industrial zoning districts.

The ordinances also specify conditions and locations for medical and adult-use marijuana manufacturing, testing and cultivation.

Copies of the ordinances are available at the town office and can be downloaded from the town website.


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