It’s déjà vu all over again with development close to the lake.

In March 2022, the Auburn City Council voted to take 120 acres out of Agricultural and Resource Protection zoning to General Business zoning and move the watershed boundary line closer to the lake. A successful citizen petition drive to repeal the rezoning was certified that summer and froze the rezoning, leaving the council with two choices: send the rezoning to a public referendum or repeal it.

Perhaps sensing the likelihood of the referendum’s success, the council repealed the rezoning.

Jump ahead to 2023, when the watershed boundary line was determined by scientific modeling to be on average closer to the road than the lake: Although this determination does not by any means call for rezoning this area, the Planning Board hastily put before the outgoing council the same zoning change from AGRP to General Business that was enacted then repealed in 2022.

The petition drive and the ouster of the mayor and two council members in the November election might have given the council pause before overriding the wishes of Auburn voters to prohibit development close to the lake. Instead, the council voted 4-3 to rezone, in direct opposition to the wishes of most of their constituents.

But it benefits one constituent: The rezoning helps pave the way for John Gendron to build over a thousand units adjacent to the lake, potentially bringing the need for an expensive filtration plant for our drinking water.

Will the developer pay for that?

Renee Cote, Auburn

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