AUBURN — A group of five residents has taken out petition papers in an effort to repeal the city’s recent rezoning of a large residential area.

City Clerk Sue Clements-Dallaire confirmed the effort Friday, saying the petitions were issued Friday after her office received the request earlier in the week.

The group, which by City Charter is called a “petitioners’ committee,” will have 90 days to circulate petitions, and will need to collect at least 1,648 signatures.

According to Clements-Dallaire, if the petitions are deemed sufficient, it would then go before the City Council for officials to reconsider the ordinance. If the council fails to repeal the ordinance within 30 days, the repeal effort would then go before voters as a referendum.

The provision also states that the council could make a “substantial change” to the ordinance, and if so, it would not be required to submit the matter to an election.

According to the clerk’s office, the petitioners’ committee is made up of John Cleveland, Robert Hayes, Denis Bergeron, Elizabeth Dunn and Ryan Smith.


The council voted 5-2 on March 28 to apply T-4.2, a type of form-based code that allows for increased housing density and commercial uses, to sections of Court, Lake and Turner streets, and Park, Western and Gamage avenues.

The proposal has been divisive among officials and residents, with questions over its long-term impact to the character of largely single-family neighborhoods, but has also highlighted the larger statewide debate over solutions to the housing crisis.

Mayor Jason Levesque, who has strongly supported the rezoning and efforts to encourage new housing, said Friday that he “wholeheartedly” supports the ability for residents to “make changes or directly influence government,” calling it the “ultimate check and balance to elected officials.”

But, he said, “What I hope doesn’t happen is that a small group of individuals use our process to deny others their rights to work and develop their land and disenfranchise people who are desperately seeking housing.”

The Auburn Planning Board is scheduled Tuesday to conduct a site plan review for a proposed 60-unit housing complex at 555 Court St., the first project to come forward under the new zoning.

The development is proposed by American Development Group, led by Auburn resident Jessica Klimek. It proposes five, three-story buildings on the 13.25 acres near Auburn Middle School.

Clements-Dallaire said once petitions are filed in the clerk’s office, “the ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall be suspended from taking effect and continues until such time” as either the City Council or voters take action.

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