WINTHROP – Town officials have voted to hire a third-party group that will work closely with the Planning Board to draft new quarry, mining and gravel pit regulations.

Winthrop will pay $4,000 to the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, known as KVCOG, for assistance in crafting the rules.

The town had agreed to revisit its regulations after an organized group of residents and scientists voiced concerns about a proposal for a quarry on Turkey Lane. The group, called Stop the Winthrop Quarry, claimed the project posed serious health and environmental risks and that the town’s existing policies were not sufficient to protect local people and nearby waterways.

The Town Council voted 6-1 in favor of hiring KVCOG at its meeting Tuesday evening. Anthony Wess opposed the idea, saying he didn’t support spending that money.

The overall fee includes $250 in travel expenses.

KVCOG is a nonprofit that helps municipalities in Kennebec, Somerset and western Waldo counties address planning and economic development concerns, including by drafting complex ordinances.


The nonprofit will work collaboratively with the Planning Board to revamp Winthrop’s land use ordinance, which currently has a six-month moratorium on it that expires in October.

The moratorium can be extended once for another six months. After that, if officials need more time, the council will have to vote on a new moratorium.

“It’s going to be a very public process. The KVCOG planners will be at the Planning Board meetings, working directly with them, working on crafting an ordinance that best meets the needs of Winthrop,” said Town Manager Anthony Wilson.

Wilson mentioned that the group has already started collecting similar ordinances from across the state and will be cherry-picking the best parts from them to craft an ideal ordinance for Winthrop.

One member of the Planning Board expressed frustration about the decision Tuesday, saying that hiring a third-party group to draft the ordinance could undermine the Planning Board’s function.

“There was a member who expressed skepticism, but the chair of the Planning Board seemed to appreciate the help,” said Wilson, addressing the concerns. “And that’s what it is supposed to be, an aid to provide some technical expertise to a volunteer board that probably lacks that expertise. And we want to get it right the first time.”

Wilson also mentioned that using third-party organizations is not going to be as common going forward, as the town is also looking to hire a new in-house planner who will oversee these sorts of projects in the future.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story