Editorial — The right decision

Jan 09, 2014

Camden's Planning Board members have recently been through a long and arduous process with their review of a new definition for rehabilitation facilities.

The definition is intended to allow rehabilitation centers as a special exception in the Coastal-Residential zone. The proposal was brought forth by investors in Fox Hill Real Estate LLC.

The mountains of letters and meeting minutes, documentation and rewrites from attorneys for those for and against the proposal was nothing short of daunting and Planning Board members — volunteers — have spent dozens of hours attending meetings and listening to testimony from lawyers, investors, residents, neighbors and other interested parties.

Finally, last week during a snowstorm, the Planning Board reached the decision-making point and we think their choice to send the issue forward to the select board is the correct one. Acting Chairman Lowrie Sargent said he felt the decision should be made by more than the five voting members of the Planning Board and we agree.

Voters should be allowed to decide if the definition of a rehab facility is appropriate and if it should be included as a special exception in the Coastal-Residential zone. Asking the five members of the planning board to make that large of a decision on behalf of residents is not unheard of but in this case, people are extremely passionate about the particular proposed use and particular proposed location.

Sargent also pointed out how involved Camden citizens are in zoning issues and we've noticed citizens involved in many issues that could potentially impact the town's future. We can't predict the result of a town-wide vote, but we do know debate is healthy. Residents should consider themselves lucky to live in such a passionate town with such thoroughly committed volunteers.

Throughout the process, the Planning Board was considerate of all speakers, including those who did not follow the outlined rules of sticking to a particular topic regardless of how much time those speakers added to meetings. They listened to lawyers go back and forth, neighbors of the property, interested citizens, people from out of town with knowledge of similar facilities and the proposed operator. They remained tight-lipped on their own stances until the appropriate time.

We know there is much more debate ahead of the select board and we hope selectmen are as thorough and considerate of the issue as Planning Board members have been.

Beware the ice

While temperatures have been frigid for several weeks, with the exception of Monday, ice continues to be a hazard for many. We were happy to see the rain and warm temperatures slough ice from roofs and sidewalks, there is still plenty of danger this time of year.

Police and fire scanners have been busy with calls for people who have slipped and fallen on icy surfaces either at home or while out and about. And a short time ago, we reported on a man who went through the ice on his tractor in Appleton. Blowing snow on roads can easily transform into slick black ice, surprising drivers traveling at regular speeds.

Ice, regardless of how thick or widespread, should be carefully traversed by all. Ice seldom freezes uniformly. It may be a foot thick in one location and only an inch or two just a few feet away.

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