Selectmen agree to place petition question on ballot
Camden — A local inn owner collected enough signatures to request a zoning change be placed on the ballot in November and Selectmen unanimously approved the request Sept. 2.
Town attorney William Kelly noted a slight difference in requirements for an additional public hearing based on Select Board approval versus the citizen petition. A public hearing – if needed – must take place at least 10 days prior to the Nov. 4 vote.
Windward House owner Kristi Bifulco has been working on wording for the special exception for three years with the Planning Board and Code Enforcement Officer Steve Wilson. The exception will allowed her and two other inns on High Street to apply with the Zoning Board of Appeals to serve dinner to guests, an option not currently allowed in the Traditional Village Zone where Windward House is located. Because the proposal was not previously approved by Selectmen for the ballot, the only remaining option for voters to have a say was though the petition process.
Following a public hearing Aug. 12, Selectmen rejected placing the request for the special exception on the November ballot. Nearly a dozen residents addressed Selectmen, with a large majority speaking against the proposal at that time.
During public hearings with the Planning Board, numerous people spoke in support of the zoning change as well as against it. The Planning Board approved moving the proposal on to the Select Board in July.
According to the agenda for the Sept. 2 Selectmens' meeting, the signatures on the petition were verified Aug. 27. Town Manager Patricia Finnigan said a total of 283 signatures were submitted and verified.