In close vote, select board sends storage container rules to voters
Camden — The select board continued to disagree on the intent of proposed changes to accessory storage container regulations during a public hearing Sept. 3.
Selectmen Leonard Lookner and John French argued existing containers located at Party Fundamentals and Don Foshay's Discount Tire already do not meet code enforcement standards. There were no comments from the public during the hearing.
"This is by no means a vendetta against any business," Lookner said, reiterating previous concerns about last fall's zoning change that allowed businesses in that zone a one-time expansion of 30 percent, in part to eliminate storage containers. "And we're now told they are legitimate."
He said there are no building permits for the storage containers.
"They are illegal structures," Lookner said.
Selectman Don White took issue with referring to the existing storage containers as illegal, telling Lookner, "this is just an opinion of yours." White said the proposed regulations would give the code enforcement office "teeth" when dealing with any future storage containers.
French noted there are other storage containers in town that might be less obvious than those referred to by Lookner.
"This doesn't do anything about those trailers that are there now," French said. " ... it's unfortunate we can't do more."
Selectman Jim Heard said he was unsure of which way he would vote, as he could understand both sides of the issue presented by select board members.
"We can't reach back and slap people for something we allowed to happen," Select Board Chairman Martin Cates said, adding changing the rules to make existing storage containers illegal "would open up a whole slew of things."
French proposed a motion to not place the issue on the Nov. 5 ballot, which was seconded by Lookner. After a short additional discussion, that motion was defeated 3-2 with French and Lookner in the minority.
White then made a motion to include the proposed regulations on the ballot in November, which passed 3-2, with French and Lookner opposed.
During previous meetings, Planning Board Chairman Chris MacLean said the proposed changes would limit new storage containers to 60 days per year per property and would require securing a permit 15 days in advance of the container's placement.
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Stephanie has served as editor of Camden Herald since its return in April 2012.
Previously, she was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has worked a number of years in the newspaper business from southern Maine to Waldo County.
Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.
Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and two chickens.