OWLS HEAD — Owls Head Select Board members expressed no interest Tuesday, June 21, in placing a moratorium on additional construction projects at the Knox County Regional Airport before residents at the annual town meeting in August.

A spokesman for the group who want a moratorium said the citizens would gather signatures to force a warrant article to be placed on the town meeting agenda. The Select Board voted June 21 to set the annual town meeting for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29. The location was not determined with Select Board member Tom VonMalder recommending the meeting be held in the auditorium of the Ash Point Community School because of the expected large turnout due to interest in the airport matter.

He pointed out last year, many people had to stay outside the town office building because of the overflow crowd at a town meeting.

Von Malder said the select board negotiated for two years with Knox County for an agreement on future growth of the airport but residents rejected that proposal. He said he would not support placing the moratorium on the town meeting warrant. Board Chair Gordon Page said he would not vote to place the article on the warrant.

Board member Linda Post said opposition to the airport has been around for decades. She said people have asked for restrictions on the type of planes and to stop planes from using the airport after 10 p.m. which she said the town cannot restrict.

Post said a few years ago someone moved into town and wanted to restrict how early fishermen could go out to sea because of the noise from the boats and the “salty language.”

Ken Wexler of the Owls Head Airport Advisory Committee said the citizens would gather the 91 signatures needed to place the matter on the annual town meeting warrant. He said a moratorium of six months was needed to allow the town to develop ordinances to regulate airport construction.

Wexler said the only protection the town has now is the site plan review ordinance.

Airport Manager Jeremy Shaw said the effort is spot zoning, targeting the airport.

Von Malder questioned Wexler on what specifically the group wants regulated but Wexler said he did not want to speak for the group.

The moratorium issue arises as the proposal for 15 new hangars remains in limbo. The Planning Board approved 23 hangars at its March 14 meeting with eight in the first phase and 15 in the second phase. Since then, however, 12 residents, including two members of the Owls Head Planning Board — Ken Wexler and Russell Wolfertz — filed an appeal of the second phase to the town’s Board of Appeals.

A date for the Appeals Board to meet has not been scheduled but Code Officer Scott Bickford said June 21, in his opinion, since no hearing has yet been held, the time for an appeal passed.

The Select Board negotiated a proposed new interlocal agreement with Knox County but that initial proposal was rejected, 124-14, by Owls Head residents at a June 2021 town meeting. Opponents claimed the 2021 proposal would have taken away rights the town had with the prior agreement that expired in 2021. That agreement had been agreed to 20 years earlier.

An ad hoc committee of Owls Head residents came up with a revamped proposal. The FAA issued a letter to the County April 18 saying it could not accept the proposed agreement because several provisions would take away the control of the airport from Knox County, would unjustly discriminate against airport users and violates FAA rules and grant assurances. Knox County rejected the proposal.