YCH receives funding for Second Limington ProjectYork Cumberland Housing receives funding for Second Limington Project
Also in this issue:
Limington prepares for Annual Town Meeting
Cable delayed until July 2001
Voters authorize hiring of Paramedic
View the 10/23/2000 issue
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As the 20 unit Low Income Family Housing Project proposal moves forward, YCH receives HUD funding for a 24 unit Low-Income Elderly Housing Project in Limington.
All stories by Dick Jarrett
The York Cumberland Housing Development Corporation has asked the Limington Board of Selectmen to sponsor ordinance changes to streamline the construction of a proposed 24 unit low-income elderly housing project in Limington. Citing that a 24-unit project could use up most of the growth permits and might present a hardship for other people seeking permits, YCH has asked that projects for residents over the age of 55 be exempted from the growth ordinance. As an example, they mention Gorham which gives a density bonus to subsidized elderly housing. Note that Limington already allows elderly housing to built at a much higher density than other multi-family projects. The 20 permits for low-income family housing proposal plus the 24 permits for the low-income elderly proposal would require more permits than can be legally issued in a single year in Limington. The Limington Growth Ordinance limits the number of building permits to 35 per year with a possible carryover of up to 6 unused permits from a previous year. If these two projects were built in a single year, they would use up every available permit and then some, leaving none for the rest of the town.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $1,665,300 to York Cumberland Housing for this project to be located on Route 11. Residents would have to be 62 years or older and would pay 30% of their income to YCH for rent and utilities. To be eligible, one person households could make up to $17,150 and two person households up to $19,600. This works out to be a maximum rent of $490 per month for a one bedroom apartment.
Low-Income Family Housing Project on the Fast Track
Meanwhile, the Low-Income Family Housing proposal is moving ahead at full speed. After dragging their feet for months, YCH finally agreed to pay the standard subdivision fee that other subdividers have paid in the past. YCH also purchased additional land to meet the town's minimum lot size requirements for multi-family developments. The applicant had argued unsuccessfully that their own calculation method should be used which required less land. However, the lawyers for YCH did successfully pressure the board into removing alternate member Ron Perkins for alleged bias for the duration of the proceedings on this matter. The applicant has also submitted a disappointingly scanty hydrogeological study. A hydrogeological study is needed to prove that the project will not pollute the groundwater. Every subdivider to date that has submitted such a study has calculated both the paths of underground plumes of pollution as well as an overall pollution loading of the soils in the project. The YCH study omitted the overall loading calculations. However, the Planning Board has hired their own hydrogeologist (at YCH's expense) to review the calculations. The project is located over an aquifer and is only a few hundred yards from the town's Aquifer Protection District where multi-family housing is prohibited entirely. York Cumberland Housing is also waiting for DEP review of their storm water drainage plan.
Advance Token to Boardwalk
In a surprising turn of events, Planning Board Chairperson Wendy Walker announced that this project would enter directly into the Final Review phase for the Subdivision Plan. This is the only major subdivision plan since the subdivision ordinance was adopted by the voters in 1972 that has moved into Final Review without first receiving Preliminary Approval. The preliminary review could not even officially begin until the application was complete and an application is not complete until the subdivision review fee is paid. York Cumberland Housing only recently agreed to pay the subdivision fee. The final public hearing will be scheduled after all of the required materials (such as the DEP report) are submitted.
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Limington prepares for Annual Town Meeting
Polls will be open on Friday March 2nd for election of officials and voting on proposed zoning ordinance changes. The warrant articles will be discussed on Saturday, March 3rd, 2001.
In a crowded race, four people are vying for the job of selectperson. Bob Cyr is a local electrician and former president of the Limington Youth League. Dennis Doughty has served for many years on the Camp Moy-Mo-Day-O committee and recently ran for State Representative. Kathy Maddocks is running for re-election after serving as selectwoman for the past 6 years. Mike York Sr. is a local businessman who has built the five cell towers in town as well as the duplex apartment buildings in the Burning Rose Subdivision. The successful candidate will join current selectmen Herbert Ramsdell and Barry Gammon.
The only other contested race is for the three open seats on the Planning Board. Stanley (Pubby) Blake Jr., Ron Perkins, and Kreg Rose are all currently appointed to the board as either members or alternates and hope to become officially elected members. Chairwoman Wendy Walker is running for re-election after serving for three years on the board.
Calvin Lewis is running unopposed for Road Commissioner. Marilyn Webb is retiring but Patty Ramsdell is running for Town Clerk, Treasurer, and Tax Collector. Grace Davis is running for Trustee to the Davis Memorial Library, and Laurie Allen is seeking re-election to the MSAD#6 School Board.
Planning Board Proposes Zoning Ordinance Changes
In addition to selecting candidates, voters will be asked to approve or disapprove six changes to the Limington Zoning Ordinance. In the January 25th public hearing, residents expressed their concerns over the proposed amendments.
The "Access to Lots" proposal (Question 2) is designed to make it cheaper to build long driveways in town. Citizens cited the proposal as flawed in that it did not repeal some of the existing regulations and adds a lot of confusion to the process. In fact, it was not clear from the hearing as exactly to which lots the proposed law would apply. Since the proposal puts a lot of discretion in the hands of the CEO, Road Commissioner, and Fire Chief, one citizen questioned whether the law could be applied evenly and fairly and prophesized that it would lead to a reduction in standards since after even one poor road was allowed, then to be fair the officials would have to use the same standard on every future application. In addition to relaxing width and gravel requirements, the proposal would allow steeply graded driveways. This is the opposite action from many other towns which are tightening up their regulations on new private roads to ensure that the town does not end up paying for future road improvements
The Planning Board has also improved the sign ordinance (Question 3) that was proposed and defeated last year. The maximum height was reduced from 25 feet to a more reasonable 15 feet. Some people spoke in favor of the changes that would allow free standing signs in the Commercial Zone. One resident worried about the clutter that free standing signs bring to areas like Windham. If the proposal fails, then signs in the Commercial Zone can only be located on the commercial buildings themselves after March of 2002.
Question 4 places some limits on Telecommunication towers in town, the most significant being a height limitation of 190 feet. This is the same height as the five cell towers currently being built in town. One Ham Radio operator felt that the language was flawed in that it appeared to encompass all towers including those used by Ham radio operators. The Planning Board proposals are not nearly as restrictive as those proposed by citizen petition which has still not been placed on the ballot.
Question 5 would prevent travel trailers from being used as permanent dwellings. While most people agreed with the concept of the proposal, many felt that the language was somewhat flawed and could be hard to enforce uniformly.
Question 1 and Question 6 are more minor changes to the ordinance to make it more consistent and easier to enforce. One provision does increase the setback for tall structures such as towers to allow a greater "fall down" zone. Question 1 also restricts Wireless Communication Facilites to the Rural and Commercial Zones.
The Planning Board had also proposed to change the gravel pit requirements in the zoning ordinance. However, a last minute revision had created a loophole large enough to drive a gravel truck through and the selectmen declined to place that proposal on the ballot. The proposal would have increased the current gravel pit exemption from 30 cubic yards per year to 2000 cubic yards per year (500 cubic yards every 90 days). Extracting 2000 cubic yards would allow a 10 foot deep hole approximately the size of the new town hall to be extracted every year without a planning board permit. The Planning Board plans on revising their proposal and resubmitting it to the voters at the same time the voters cast their SAD#6 budget ballots in June.
Click Here to view sample ballots.
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Cable delayed until July 2001
Adelphia Cable announced last month that due to shortage of fiber-optic cable, the expanded cable system will not be ready until the end of July 2001.
Residents who were anxiously awaiting the new cable that was promised for the end of August 2000 will have to wait almost another year before they can plug into the new system. The state of the art cable system will consist of fiber-optic distribution lines that branch out into the traditional coaxial cable. This is the second delay; the availability date was first postponed until the end of December 2000. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of fiber optic cable, the roll out of the new system has been delayed again. The cable company has not been completely idle, however. Residents may have noticed green boxes sprouting on telephone poles around town. These units are uninterruptible power supplies which will not only provide power during outages of a few hours but should provide for more reliable service after momentary power failures. Smaller silver boxes are the actual conversion nodes that transform the fiber optic signal into the electrical signal that comes into the house. The expanded system will allow for high speed cable modem service at the same time the new system is brought on-line. Around the middle of 2002, the company expects to be able to offer local telephone service over the same cable. A future enhancement could also allow small antennas to be placed on the conversion nodes that would allow for cell phone usage throughout the area to the telephone customers.
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Voters authorize hiring of a full time Emergency Medical Services Paramedic in Special Town Meeting
In a special town meeting held on Friday, December 29th, 2000, Limington voters authorized the selectmen to hire a full-time Emergency Medical Services Paramedic as well as pay for EMS attendant fees. The funds for these programs would be taken from the fees that the selectmen have been collecting from ambulance user fees.
Much of the discussion at the meeting centered not on the actual hiring but the user fees themselves. Currently, the fees average about $500 per call. Standish also charges these user fees but allows any family in town to subscribe to the service for $20 per year in advance. Subscribers are then not charged any fees above what their insurance companies pay out. Since many people in Limington are uninsured or underinsured, such a program would make ambulance service a lot more affordable. The selectmen promised to investigate such a program for discussion at the upcoming March Town meeting.Results of Limington Special Town Meeting
Friday December 29th at 7:00 PM at the Limington Municipal Complex
Article 1: To choose a Moderator. Kreg Rose Article 2: To see if the Town will vote to allocate and/or utilize such revenue funds that are annually collected by the Town of Limington in the form of ambulance user fees for the purposes of hiring a full time Emergency Medical Services Paramedic and for EMS attendant fees. Article Passed
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