Saturday morning, March 9, Select Board Chair Richard Doughty explains one of the warrant articles at the annual town meeting held in the Weld Town Hall. Also seen are Selectperson Dina Walker at left and Town Clerk Carol Cochran. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

WELD — More than 60 voters attended town meeting Saturday morning, March 9, where two ordinances and a bridge replacement were approved.

A food sovereignty ordinance was approved directing the Select Board to modify and amend the ordinance to comply with any changes required by state statutes.

Residents David Rackliffe and Mike and Laurie Pratt worked on the ordinance early last fall, Laurie said. State legislature revised the state’s Food Sovereignty Act earlier last year and the revisions didn’t go into effect until the end of October, the ordinance presented to the town was not the most up to date, she stated.

“We just want to have the most up to date [ordinance] with regards to regulations,” she added.

Selectperson Lisa Miller originally brought the ordinance idea to the board when she realized the Food Sovereignty Act didn’t give the right to trade or sell foods. Miller spoke with Sen. Lisa Keim, one of the authors of the act, who noted its purpose was to increase resiliency and self-reliance, the freedom to sell food. Keim said the act gives an opportunity to self-govern, Miller said.

Maine used to have more small farms, Keim hoped with the Food Sovereignty Act more people would go back to having small farms, Miller noted.


If the town chooses not to adopt the ordinance, people will have to follow state regulations, Tom Skolfield stated. If it passes, they won’t need to, he added.

If people feel the rules aren’t what they should be, efforts should be on getting them fixed, one resident said.

State rules are geared to big business, resident Mike Graham, a former state inspector said. People should be able to decide, make their own decisions, he stated.

One resident who has a license to sell food recommended those planning to sell without a license check with their insurance company to make sure they are covered.

Without the ordinance, eggs aren’t supposed to be sold on the side of the road, Miller said. “Anyone can sue anybody today,” she added.

Selectperson Dina Walker said lawsuits could possibly increase, the ordinance doesn’t take away from the requirement to follow food safety measures.


More than 100 towns have adopted a food sovereignty ordinance, Rackliffe noted. One has a population of 27; large towns, cities like Auburn with 20,000 to 30,000 people have passed it, he added.

Board Chair Richard Doughty said the ordinance as presented has conflicting information, changes would remove inconsistencies.

“I am worried a lot more about the food I buy in the store, I am going to buy from my neighbors,” Corey Hutchinson stated.

“Are we going to keep on chasing this down the road as the state makes changes,” one resident asked.

There are so many issues today, the state was to vote on another amendment Wednesday, Rep. Randall Hall of East Dixfield said. He shared the example of peanut allergies and concern that if ingredients aren’t listed, someone could buy a food and have an allergic reaction.

“We thought we had it all straightened out,” Hall said. Another question being raised is “can somebody buy my eggs, take them to the farmers’ market and sell them. We don’t have all the answers.


“It is very confusing. We are rural America. Southern Maine is so much different. There is not a lot of common sense out there. Times are changing so fast.”

Local musicians from left Matt McGuire, Linda Lee, Lisa Ravis, Laurie Pratt, David Jervis and Julie Jervis perform Daisy a Day Saturday morning, March 9, in memory of those who passed away in the last year. The performance was during the annual town meeting held at the Weld Town Hall. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

A six-month moratorium ordinance on solar farms and large commercial structures was passed.

The ordinance would allow time for the Select Board to draft a solar farm ordinance and update the building ordinance, Walker said.

Doughty felt this ordinance was not necessary and could be extended indefinitely by the board. “It sets a dangerous precedence,” he said. It would prevent people from doing what they want. Curbing consumption of fossil fuel is the most important thing people can do, he noted.

“I also think it sends the message we don’t want commercial business in town,” Doughty said. “I don’t want to deter businesses coming in.”

The ordinance would give time to study what the town wants in the future, it’s not banning them forever, Mike Pratt noted.


“It allows us time to regulate, not ban,” Walker said. Legal counsel has advised objective standards must be set, six months gives time to write the regulations, she noted.

Laurie Pratt was concerned with solar structures failing, what happens when they aren’t wanted anymore. “It is a lot to think about,” she said.

The Planning Board is working on the building ordinance adopted in 1997, Nancy Stowell noted. A lot of things today aren’t covered, she said. One new ordinance with specific requirements rather than looking at things piecemeal was her suggestion.

Voters also approved requesting bids for replacement of Kennedy Bridge on Temple Road and allowing the Select Board to determine how to pay for it.

Graham asked what standards the new bridge would need to meet. He noted an instance years ago when two dump trucks had to be able to pass each other.

Doughty said the beams are badly corroded, the engineer firm hired has worked with towns to plan bridges that are less than Maine Department of Transportation standards, that towns can afford.


The engineering firm recommends concrete which lasts two or three times longer, he said. Good advice was received from several people with construction and bridge building experience, he noted. Costs for the initial estimate have been reduced, engineers estimate high, he stated.

The replacement does include a temporary walking bridge being used for about a week, Doughty noted. Plans will be worked out regarding fire protection, ambulance access, he said.

Voters also voted to appropriate funds from various sources to pay for the replacement.

There is no money in this year’s budget to pay for it, $50,000 has been set aside, Doughty noted. There may be grants available to help, he added.

Another meeting will be held for voter approval once bids have been received and payment information is known, Walker stated.

All budget article figures were passed as recommended by the Select Board and Budget Committee.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.