The Waldoboro Planning Board held a public hearing March 24 to hear comments on, discuss, and modify several proposed changes to the town’s land use ordinance. The amendments to the land use ordinance could go before voters at the June 8 election.

The planning board started the night with seven proposed changes to the land use ordinance. One amendment was dropped from consideration on the June warrant. Two others were changed. The planning board members at the meeting were Chairman Charles Campbell, Abden Simmons, Ed Karkow, Charles Flint and Jonathan “Jody” Perry. During the meeting, Planning and Development Director Patrick Wright described the proposed changes and answered questions.

The planning board backed off from an amendment on septic systems in the shoreland zone. The planning board had considered an amendment to require owners of new and replacement septic systems constructed within the shoreland zone to have a prepaid contract for pumping the septic system every two years for at least 10 years. Several residents at the public hearing said the rule would be difficult to enforce and overly burdensome. The intent of the proposal is to protect the town’s vital clam flats, said planning board members.

The most significant change to the proposed amendments concerned wetlands that are considered low-value for wildlife habitat. The planning board had proposed an amendment to allow structures to be built as close as 75 feet to a low-value wetland, but the area 250 feet from the wetland would still have been the shoreland zone. State statute, however, allows the shoreland zone boundary of low-value wetlands to be 75 feet. In the end, the planning board endorsed an amendment to make the shoreland zone 75 feet around low-value wetlands.

The planning board made a slight change to an amendment that would require the board’s review of changes to a subdivision. The language was clarified to say that planning board review would be required when there is a change that “affects specific criteria of subdivision review.”

The planning board advanced the other four proposals without making any changes.

One ordinance change would address height restrictions for the towers needed to bring wireless broadband access to the town. The proposed ordinance change would allow wireless Internet service providers to construct towers up to 120 feet in height anywhere in town, with the exception of the historic village district.

Another proposed amendment dealing with height restrictions would allow poles for electrical transmission lines to exceed the current 42-foot height limit. The amendment is needed for Central Maine Power to upgrade its transmission lines for its $1.5 billion region-wide project.

The land use ordinance amendment for resource protection zones would change shoreland zoning maps to meet state minimum guidelines to protect high-value wetlands.

Another amendment clarifies the responsibility for fire protection ponds. The amendment would require developers to provide and maintain firefighting infrastructure, if needed.

The planning board voted to send the six land use ordinance amendments — resource protection, power pole heights, fire ponds, subdivision review, wireless Internet towers and low-value wetlands — to the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen. The selectmen will vote whether to add the proposed changes to the warrant that voters will face at the June 8 election.

For more information on the land use ordinance amendments, visit waldoboromaine.org/planningdevelopment/planningdevelopment.html.