CAMDEN — The Select Board voted on a number of items for the town meeting Tuesday, March 15, including proposed ordinance changes and a charter change affecting how citizens vote on the budget each year.

The board voted 4-0 to approve sending forward the charter change that would mean voting on the budget by secret ballot rather than in open town meeting.

“I would like to think that what we may lose in tradition, we gain in a wider participation and representation in the budget approval process,” said Deborah Dodge of the Charter Commission. She said she supported putting the question to voters at town meeting.

The board approved sending on several proposed zoning ordinance changes and, according to the discussion in the meeting, some of the changes are aimed at making housing more affordable. Some of the changes would make it easier to have two-family or multi-family dwellings in the village without increasing square footage.

Stephanie Smith of the Midcoast Regional Housing Trust spoke in favor of the changes, pointing out the need for affordable housing. She said 25 percent of young teachers turn down jobs in the area because they cannot find a place to live, and that one-third of houses are seasonally occupied.

Josh Hixson also expressed support, saying some staff at his business, 40 Paper, are forced to drive 45 minutes to get to work because there is no place they can live in Camden.

Some residents expressed concern that this change could lead to more short-term rentals in the area. Select Board Vice Chair Alison McKellar asked if a requirement that they not be short-term rentals could be included as part of the changes. This led to some concerns from other town officials on how that could be enforced.

Planning and Development Director Jeremy Martin suggested the board approve the changes now and not put this on hold to deal with the short-term rental issue.

In other business, the board discussed placing a moratorium on residential piers, docks and floats in the outer harbor while working on new ordinances to regulate such development. The board had engaged in some debate at a recent meeting on a pier that has been approved at Sherman Cove.

Board Chair Robert Falciani said he would not want this to impact the Lyman-Morse harbor project, and it was said at the meeting that it would not.

Martin advised against creating language that would target residential vs. non-residential piers. The moratorium, if it does come to pass, may specify parts of the harbor instead.

The Select Board decided to hold off for now on appointing interim members of the Conservation Commission. Those applying to serve include Keith Blizzard, Rebecca Jacobs, Barb Ohland and David Kibbe.

A group of residents in the town has formed, independent of town government, to talk about the kinds of trees that should be planted in Camden.

Getting the town’s advisory Conservation Commission up and running again is a goal, and McKellar has been named the Select Board liaison for that committee.

Select Board member Sophie Romana said she was concerned about appointing members who have only one interest. Blizzard, for example, wrote on his application, “Solely interested in replenishing Camden Street tree canopy over the next 10 years and institutionalizing it firmly with P.W.” Trees in the community, however, are only one of several areas the Conservation Commission may be called upon to address.

The Select Board agreed to wait until after a meeting had been held with the applicants.

In yet other business, the board heard from Aaron Lincoln of Schooner Olad, representing daysailers. He argued the rules concerning parking at the Public Landing in the daysailers’ license agreements were unfair. In the past, in addition to granting daysailers’ permits to use a town float, they received permission to have tables to sell tickets at the public landing and one parking space.

Part of the thinking on the parking space was that the daysailers would then keep their employees and others from parking down there and shuffling cars around every two hours.

The town at some point removed these parking space permits from the daysailers, and the agreements prohibit them from parking at the public landing. Lincoln asked that the language be changed to say they have to follow the same parking rules as anyone else, limiting them to two hours.

Select Board member Marc Ratner said he agreed it was not fair to have a law prohibiting them specifically from using the public landing parking and not have the same rule apply to anyone else.

McKellar argued there is a benefit that businesses downtown understand to keeping parking spaces free for visitors, and the goal is to avoid having employees in local businesses taking up those parking spaces and shuffling their cars every two hours.

She said what she is hearing from Lincoln, since the permit parking space has been taken away, is, “I’m not going to tell my employees not to park there anymore. I want the town to suffer.”

Lincoln said those were her words. “I’ve been the police for years,” he said of his efforts to keep employees from using the spaces.

McKellar said she apologized that she was misunderstanding him.

Ratner moved to make the requested change and the board voted 4-0 to grant the daysailers’ request. Falciani quipped, “So, now you can’t park anywhere!”

The board also held an executive session with the town attorney.

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